Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Madoff Wants to Keep $62 Million

Bernard Madoff’s lawyers are arguing that a Manhattan apartment and $62 million are unrelated to the fraud investigation because they are in his wife’s name. Nothing ventured, nothing gained I suppose, but this one doesn’t pass the sniff test.

It’s hard to wrap my mind around the extent of the crime here. Madoff is accused of a $50 billion fraud. That would be like committing a $1 million fraud once a day for over 130 years! The idea that he could come out of this with anything more than some worn personal items in a suitcase sickens me.

It will be interesting to see whether the legal system is able to give Madoff any kind of meaningful punishment. One thing that seems certain is that the process will take a long time.


  1. hmmm, lets hope that the american justice system doesn't fail us, just like the finacial regulatory system did here.

  2. Thanks for breaking it down into a million dollars a day for 130 years. Large numbers are hard to conceptualize.

    I was going to forward you an interesting link about how the human mind deals with large numbers, but I can't find the link. The findings were something like this: the size of the number preceding units has more impact than the actual units. So, for example, people are more impressed by $845 than $1 thousand, or $720 million than $8 billion.

  3. Brian: Agreed. I've got my fingers crossed :-)

    Thicken: I certainly hope that lawmakers will dig hard enough to find links between all of the Madoff family assets and the fraud.

    Gene: I've heard similar things about smaller numbers. Apparently, 9 seems more impressive than 10 in the right context. It make sense that this would be the case for larger more abstract numbers in the millions, billions, and trillions.

    1. The middle reply above is a response to Thicken My Wallet's comment:

      If you have already blown $50 billion, a claim in the tens of millions is a rounding error in one's mind.

      Sadly, unless they can prove his wife was in on this or the property was transferred recently, he has a decent legal argument. Law is, indeed, an ass sometimes.