Book Excerpt: Madoff Talks, by Jim Campbell
Author Jim Campbell Interviewed on White Collar Week Podcast with Jeff Grant
Jim Campbell has been an incredible friend to the white collar justice community, bringing unbiased and non-sensationalized truth and light to complicated subject matter. He has brought compassion and empathy to people going through the most difficult times of their lives — without ever compromising his journalistic integrity. I have had the grace and good fortune of being interviewed by Jim for his nationally syndicated business radio shows, and on his local newscasts at WGCH, his home radio station in Greenwich, CT. Jim has also been a guest on our White Collar Week podcast, links to YouTube (video) and podcast below.
I have read a review copy of his new book, Madoff Talks: Uncovering the Untold Story Behind the Most Notorious Ponzi Scheme in History (available for pre-order now) and it is an absolute must-read for those of us in the white collar justice community — and for everyone else who wants to truly understand not only Bernie Madoff the man, his crimes and his pathology, but also the systematic breakdown of every safeguard the government and Wall Street were supposed to have in place to protect us. Five stars! — Jeff
In the twelve years from gaining the most extensive media access to Bernie, Ruth and Andrew Madoff, in “Madoff Talks,” I uncovered a seeming endless stream of often shocking, little-known, revelations in the largely untold story behind the most notorious Ponzi scheme in history. “Madoff Talks” for the first time reveals whether Ruth, Andrew, or Mark Madoff were complicit in any way in the Ponzi scheme. It delves into: why Bernie got on the path to Ponzi; how Bernie did it for so long; how his crimes were uncovered; and includes the systemic failure on Wall Street and among the regulators. It puts Bernie on the couch and examines how he could be have built legitimate and criminal businesses side-by-side; and how he was more complex than just a sociopath. — Jim Campbell
Jim, this certainly sounds strange coming from me, but I was a constant critic of Wall Street. I was a product of the corrupt culture of Wall Street.” — Bernie Madoff, in an email to Jim Campbell
Order “Madoff Talks” on Amazon.com here.
Longtime Wall Street sales maven Frank Casey, blessed with an Irish flair for anecdotes, coupled with an ability to reduce financial complexities to simple common sense, was the first to uncover that Bernard L. Madoff was not who he seemed to be. It was November of 1999, a full decade before the fall of Madoff. Frank was making a sales call to gather assets for a hedge fund at the New York City office of the aristocratic French money manager René-Thierry Magon de La Villehuchet. René was an old-style gentleman. His word was his bond. Trust was his currency. He invested that trust with Bernie Madoff.
Rene’s mellifluous name and bearing was only outdone by the upper-crust and royal families of Europe he counted among his trusting customers. René ran what was to become known as one of the first Madoff “feeder funds,” money managers who would funnel investors’ assets into the hands of Bernie Madoff and his secretive hedge fund. At the time, it was still largely unknown that Madoff was even in the hedge fund business, much less that he was running one of the biggest operations in the world behind locked doors on the seventeenth floor of the distinctive, oval-shaped “Lipstick Building” in midtown Manhattan, home to Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities. The secrecy and security on the seventeenth floor was so extensive that even Madoff ’s sons, Mark and Andrew, who ran the big market making and proprietary trading operation up on the nineteenth floor — where Madoff made his name as a market maker executing trades for the likes of Charles Schwab & Company — lacked electronic key-card access.
Frank Casey’s Boston-based hedge fund, Rampart Investment Management, was, without his knowledge, a competitor of Madoff ’s invisible investment advisory business. The Frenchman demurred to Casey’s sales pitch. He wasn’t interested in working with a different fund manager, as he had found one with a seemingly uniquely reliable performance record. He had already put all his clients’ assets into just that one fund, an unusual risk for a fund of funds manager, as it left his investors undiversified. Unusually, René was not allowed to reveal the identity of the fund manager, or he would be thrown out of the fund, along with his investors’ money.
There was a compelling reason René found it unnecessary to diversify funds, though it was not related to the benefit of his investors. Inexplicably in the world of hedge funds, the secretive hedge fund manager had opted to forgo taking any of the lucrative management fees that made “hedgies” some of the richest guys on earth. Rather, he passed them on to the feeder funds. This decision was an unimaginably good deal for René. Hedge funds normally charged exorbitant fees, referred to as “2 and 20” — meaning 2 percent of assets under management, plus 20 percent of the gains (while suffering none of the losses).
Passing all that on to the feeders was tantamount to kickbacks. This book tells the full story of the feeder fund corruption for the first time. After listening to René describe the strategy and investment performance of the hidden fund, to Frank, it immediately reeked of “too good to be true.” Frank smelled a financial rat. He intuitively sensed implausible results. René remained adamant. He implicitly trusted this apparent Wizard of Wall Street operating behind a curtain of anonymity.
Then, as fate would have it, René was distracted by a phone call a few minutes later. Frank surreptitiously turned over one of the papers on a clerk’s desk revealing a financial statement with the name “Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities.” Frank hadn’t heard of Bernard L. Madoff at the time. All Frank sensed was that this guy’s investment returns could “not be market-driven.” That’s Wall Street speak for fraud.
Casey proceeded to share his findings with his boss, Harry Markopolos, the quant savant who managed the fund at Rampart and would go on to notoriety as the whistleblower whom the SEC chose not to listen to. Harry did a deep dive into the statistical likelihood whether Madoff ’s strategy could produce the returns René was convinced he could trust.
The chase for Madoff and the truth was on. For Harry, it would become an obsession. For René, the results would be tragic. Less than two weeks after Madoff ’s arrest, he would commit suicide in his New York office. It was a matter of honor after his investors lost $1.8 billion with his “trusted friend.” Readers will be surprised just how much they don’t know about the complete Madoff story…
Order “Madoff Talks” on Amazon.com here.
Contact: Herb Schaffner / Big Fish Media / email@example.com / 973–715–5922
New York, New York — April 2021. “Jim, this certainly sounds strange coming from me, but I was a constant critic of Wall Street. I was a product of the corrupt culture of Wall Street.”– Bernie Madoff, in an email to Jim Campbell
No name is more synonymous with the evil side of Wall Street than Bernie Madoff. Arrested for fraud in 2008 — during the depths of the financial crisis — the 70-year old market maker, investment advisor and former chairman of the NASDAQ had
orchestrated the largest Ponzi scheme in world history, fleecing thousands of investors across the globe to the tune of $65 billion. To this day, questions remain: Why did he do it? How did he get away with it for so long? What did his family know? Who is the elusive Bernie Madoff?
For the first time, Madoff has gone on the record to explain why and how he orchestrated the biggest Ponzi scheme in history. In over 400 pages of handwritten letters and emails between him and author Jim Campbell, Madoff shares never-before-heard details about his business and family and how he got away with committing fraud for so long.
Also, for the first time, Ruth Madoff, Andrew Madoff and Madoff’s lawyer, Ira Sorkin, reveal what they knew and if they were complicit.
“The question behind every fraud is why? For all the coverage of Bernie Madoff, the question still hangs in the air. Read Jim Campbell’s wonderfully reported book and you’ll finally get some answers.” — Bethany McLean, author of the best seller The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron.
Even though we know how the story ends, Madoff Talks’ fast-paced, suspenseful narrative shows Madoff at his manipulative best: explaining, justifying and rationalizing his actions and behaviors. All the while, Campbell’s investigative work challenges and refutes Madoff’s claims. From his exhaustive research, Campbell offers more than 30 recommendations to individual investors to be smart with their money and to the SEC, SIPC, FINRA and feeder funds.
About the Author
Jim Campbell is the host of the nationally syndicated radio show Business Talk with Jim Campbell and his crime show Forensic Talk with Jim Campbell. He is known for his hard-hitting interviews of leading figures from the worlds of business, politics and sports. Known for “firsts,” Campbell snagged the first extensive interview with former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer after his resignation; the first interview with former Tyco CEO Denis Kozlowski after his release from prison; and the first broadcast interview with former stock analyst Roomy Kahn, a government informant in one of the biggest insider trading busts in American history.
Campbell’s extensive corporate, consulting and entrepreneurial business background includes roles at KPMG Consulting, Dean Witter Financial Services (now Morgan Stanley) and IBM. He is founder and president at JC Ventures, Inc., a management consulting business.
Order “Madoff Talks” on Amazon.com here.