Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Realism About Madoff

Edward Jay Epstein, reviewing some new books about Bernie Madoff, adds a therapeutic dose of realism. Press numbers for the actual fraud range as high as $65 billion. But as Epstein notes, numbers like this apparently turn on Madoff's own fanciful books. A more careful accounting puts the amount purloined since 1995 at closer to $15 billion. Meanwhile bankruptcy trustee Irving Picard is sueing to recover $13.7 billion in various lawsuits.

Epstein also outlines new evidence that lead me back to my view that some of this money is still around in somebody's pocket somewhere. And that a lot of investors who got high but fraudulent returns may in the end have actually made profits--just not nearly what they thought they were getting.

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