Jon Stempel and Christian Plumb
Saturday, Dec 13, 2008
Investors scrambled to assess potential losses from an alleged $50 billion fraud by Bernard Madoff, a day after the arrest of the prominent Wall Street trader.
Prosecutors and regulators accused the 70-year-old, who was chairman of the Nasdaq Stock Market in the early 1990s, of masterminding a fraud of epic proportions through his investment advisory business, which managed at least one hedge fund.
Hundreds of people, investing with him through the firm’s clients, entrusted Madoff with billions of dollars, industry experts said.
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“Madoff’s investors included captains of industry, corporations — some of which are publicly traded — that used Madoff almost as a high-yielding cash management account, endowments, universities, foundations and, importantly, many high-profile funds of funds,” said Douglas Kass, who heads hedge fund Seabreeze Partners Management.
“It appears that at least $15 billion of wealth, much of which was concentrated in southern Florida and New York City, has gone to ‘money heaven,'” he said.