Tag Archives | Ponzi

JPMorgan Chase Resisting Inquiries Into Its Relationship With Bernie Madoff

jpmorganBehind every major criminal operation is a bank propping them up. Newsweek reports:

JPMorgan Chase has for years obstructed federal bank examiners trying to ascertain what it knew about Bernard Madoff’s gigantic Ponzi scheme, an official document obtained by Newsweek shows.

JPMorgan was the principal bank Madoff used in his fraud. On the day of his arrest in December 2008, he claimed to be the world’s biggest money manager, handling $64.8 billion of other people’s money.

The Justice Department refused in September to back up Treasury inspector general staff who wanted a court order to enforce a subpoena, in effect shielding JPMorgan from law enforcement, the October 8 document shows.

The JPMorgan memos are almost certain to show that years earlier the bank had grounds to suspect Madoff was running a fraud. Despite this, JPMorgan continued doing business with Madoff almost until the moment of his arrest in December 2008.

The memos Justice is helping JPMorgan conceal might also shed light on how the Securities and Exchange Commission failed to uncover the decades-long scam, despite audits and warnings from Harry Markopolos, the Boston fraud investigator who tried in vain to get an official investigation.

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Upstate New York’s NXIVM: Marketing Business Or Extreme Cult?

raniereIn the 21st century, combining a brainwashing sex cult with a Ponzi-scheme-esque multilevel marketing company makes perfect sense. The Times Union reports:

In a Saratoga County townhouse complex, a man who wears a Jesus beard and seeks to patent his philosophies keeps a cluster of adoring women at his side. He has drawn more than 10,000 people to his mission of ethical living. But some disciples say he has delivered a much darker reality.

Keith Raniere, a multilevel-marketing businessman turned self-improvement guru, has peddled himself as a spiritual being to followers, most of them women. A close-knit group of these women has tended to him, paid his bills and shuttled him around. Several have satisfied his sexual needs. And a few have left their families behind to wrap him in their affections.

Claiming one of the world’s highest IQs and holding three degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Raniere has evolved over the past two decades from the fresh-faced founder of Consumers’ Buyline Inc., a buying club business investigated for being a pyramid scheme, into the 51-year-old intellectual commander of NXIVM, a Colonie-based company promising followers from Canada to Mexico it can “help transform and, ultimately, be an expression of the noble civilization of humans.”

Raniere has convinced some followers he doesn’t drive because his intellectual energy sets off radar detectors.

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U.S. Ponzi Scheme Targeted Mormons

Book O fMormonReports the AP via Google News:
US financial regulators charged a father and son in Utah state with operating a $220 million property investment Ponzi scheme which targeted fellow members of the Mormon church. The Securities and Exchange Commission charged Wendell Jacobson and his son Allen Jacobson, of Fountain Green in central Utah, with selling shares in their purported real estate business and using the funds from some investors to pay returns promised to others. It said that since 2008 the two had solicited investments into their business of ostensibly buying, rehabilitating and then renting out properties. They appeared to use the memberships in the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints — the Mormon church — "to make connections and win over the trust of prospective investors," the SEC said. Securities in their businesses were sold to investors without registering with the SEC as required by law.
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No Joke: National Lampoon’s CEO Running $200 Million Ponzi Scheme

What is it with rich white men and their ponzi schemes? It’s not as if Bernie Madoff or this guy, Timothy Durham, didn’t have highly paid jobs already. No doubt psychology professors are researching this very issue, so for their benefit, another example courtesy of the LA Times:

The chief executive officer of National Lampoon Inc., the comedy brand behind “Animal House” and the “Vacation” movie franchise, was arrested early Wednesday in West Hollywood in connection with an alleged $200-million Ponzi scheme, federal authorities said.

nationallampoon

Timothy Durham, 48, is accused in a federal grand jury indictment of defrauding investors through his loan company and using the money to support expensive homes and cars, a 100-foot yacht and travel on a personal jet.

The arrest and indictment come two years after the FBI raided two of Durham’s businesses — Obsidian Enterprises of Indianapolis and Fair Financial of Akron, Ohio. Also named in the 23-page grand jury indictment were business associates James F.

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‘You Have A Collect Call From Bernard Madoff’

Bernard MadoffNew York Magazine‘s Steve Fishman wrote to financial criminal Bernie Madoff hoping for an interview. He could hardly have known what a coup would result:

…one evening a few weeks ago, my home phone rang. “You have a collect call from Bernard Madoff, an inmate at a federal prison,” a recorded message announced. Out of nowhere, there was that accent, familiar to anyone who’s visited Queens. Madoff apologized for calling collect. “I don’t have that much money in my commissary account,” he told me, before starting on a remarkable conversation that would stretch to several hours in more than a dozen phone calls. This being Bernie Madoff, in dollar terms the greatest criminal in history, I didn’t know what to believe. But I listened…

For anyone interested in the psychology of the man made famous for his long-running Ponzi scheme, it’s a must read story.

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The United States Economy: One Massive Ponzi Scheme?

Bernard Madoff

Bernard Madoff

Thank you, Bernie, for breaking your silence – even if you are still clinging to that cover-up mode you adopted since you took the entirety of the blame for your crimes.

What is clear is that ripping off the rich is punished far more severely than ripping off the poor. The lengthy sentence you were given spared countless other greedsters and goniffs from facing the music – what music there is.

In an interview – with a reporter from The New York Times who is writing a book to cash in on a man who has already cashed out – we learn, in the vaguest terms, that Mr M believes the banks he did his crooked business with “should have known” his figures did not figure. Keeping with the deceit that has served him well over the years, he names no names.

That said, how right he may be. There were many who should have known and done something about it.… Read the rest

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Fannie, Freddie, and the New Red and Blue

FannieFreddieMatt Taibbi writes on True/Slant:

For what we’ve learned in the last few years as one scandal after another spilled onto the front pages is that the bubble economies of the last two decades were not merely monstrous Ponzi schemes that destroyed trillions in wealth while making a small handful of people rich. They were also a profound expression of the fundamentally criminal nature of our political system, in which state power/largess and the private pursuit of (mostly short-term) profit were brilliantly fused in a kind of ongoing theft scheme that sought to instant-cannibalize all the wealth America had stored up during its postwar glory, in the process keeping politicians in office and bankers in beach homes while continually moving the increasingly inevitable disaster to the future.

That is a terrible story and it is also sort of a taboo story, since we don’t really have a system of media now that is willing or even able to digest that dark and complicated truth.

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Madoff Friend, Jeffry Picower Found Dead At Bottom Of Pool

Sound a little fishy? pool from AP:
PALM BEACH, Fla. — Jeffry Picower, a philanthropist accused of profiting more than $7 billion from the investment schemes of his longtime friend Bernard Madoff, was found at the bottom of the pool at his oceanside mansion and died Sunday, police said. He was 67. Picower's wife, Barbara, discovered his body and pulled him from the water with help from a housekeeper, authorities said. He was pronounced dead at Good Samaritan Medical Center at about 1:30 p.m. Palm Beach police are investigating the death as a drowning, but have not ruled out anything on the cause of death.
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