U.S. regulators, trying to unravel the breadth of Bernard Madoff’s alleged $50 billion fraud, have found evidence of misconduct stretching back to at least the 1970s, two people familiar with the inquiry said.
Madoff’s investment advisory business, where he allegedly operated the biggest Ponzi scheme in history, is now estimated to have had more than 4,000 customers, the people said, declining to be identified because the inquiry isn’t public. An advisory unit Madoff registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission claimed in a January filing to have no more than 25 clients. People familiar with the probe said Dec. 14 he also ran a secret unregistered business. [Read more]
The article also mentions that Price Waterhouse said Avellino & Bienes kept few records:
In its 1992 lawsuit, the SEC claimed accountants Frank Avellino and Michael Bienes began raising money in 1962 and placing it with Madoff while promising investors returns of 13.5 percent to 20 percent, according to court documents obtained by Bloomberg. As of October 1992, their firm, Avellino & Bienes, had issued $441 million in unregistered notes to 3,200 people and entities, court papers say. They invested solely with Madoff, who opened his business in 1960.
Avellino and Bienes, who were represented by Sorkin, agreed in November 1992 to shut down their business and reimburse clients. Lee Richards, the court-appointed trustee over Avellino & Bienes, hired auditors Price Waterhouse to scrutinize the books of the firm, which operated as an unregistered investment company, according to the SEC. [Read more]
This is unbelievable. I wonder how many more frauds like this are out there. The big question now is how could all of these firms miss the fraud? Any sign of due diligence? Here come the lawsuits.
“Aim for Answers”