a purveyor of fine bull.

Bernie Madoff had much of his stuff seized by the Feds recently, including his 55-foot custom yacht “Bull”, a smaller 24-foot boat called “Little Bull”, and his multimillion-dollar Palm Beach property.

“There were bulls everywhere,” [a deputy U.S. Marshal] said. “Large statues of bulls, small statues of bulls, bull bookends.”

Kind of funny that the guy running the biggest Ponzi scam in history had adopted the bull as his personal mascot.  (Then again, that was his moneymaking product.)

Between the boats, the property, and the bank accounts they seized, it looks like the Feds have managed to recover a staggering five percent of the stolen money.

I do get a kick out of the calls for “more regulation”.  The main whistleblower in the Madoff case had been pestering the SEC for almost a decade, telling them point-blank that Bernie was running a super-sized Ponzi scheme, but nobody at the SEC had the desire or the understanding to look into the issue.  You have all those state offices of the SEC, and they’re all staffed with career bureaucrats pulling down handsome salaries…and when they get the biggest case of investment fraud in the history of the country served to them on a silver platter, they sit around with their thumbs up their butts.

Regulation doesn’t do anyone any good when the people in charge of the regulating wouldn’t be able to find their own asses if you pumped them full of radium and put a Geiger counter in their hands.

10 thoughts on “a purveyor of fine bull.

  1. wolfwalker says:

    When you think about what he was doing, however, five percent is pretty damn good. My guess is that amount represents most of what he kept for his “commission”.

    Getting the money that Madoff didn’t keep for himself may pose an interesting legal problem. Presumably most of it went to pay “profits” to investors. That is, after all, what a Ponzi scheme does. The payees have probably spent a lot of it, and whatever’s left is (in most cases) irretrievably mixed with the proceeds of legitimate investments. So how do the feds get that money back?

  2. Marko says:

    They can start by counting the money the IRS has collected from the investors for non-existent profits for a few decades, and refunding those ducats to the victims. (Think that has a chance of happening?)

  3. joated says:

    The same act is being played out in immigration law and more. We’ve scads of laws on the books yet illegal immigration continues to exist and communities/states ignore it. All the regulation laws in the world mean nothing if they are not going to be enforced.

  4. wolfwalker says:

    Marko,

    Yes, actually, I do think that will happen. Il Duce and his fellows can get a lot of good PR out of undoing the damage Madoff wrought. It will be spun as the Virtuous Government making right what an Evil Wall Streeter did wrong. Compared to that, the $50,000,000,000 dollars lost to the government coffers is meaningless. It will just add a tiny bit more to the ocean of debt they’re already accumulating.

  5. Hint: this is the circus part of “bread and circuses”.

    While Madoff was under house arrest, his wife and co-conspirators had months to hide assets, shred papers and cover their tracks. I’m willing to bet that this was to hide the fact that he had to be bribing the federal regulators to get away with so much for so long.

    But Bernie sure dons the bullet-proof vest and does a great perp-walk. What a show!

    Does that make anyone forget about all the fraud that helped inflate the housing bubble? Does the “AIG bonus theater” make anyone forget about our congress-critters voting themselves a sweet raise even though it’s been a very bad year?

  6. BobG says:

    “When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators.”
    -P. J. O’Rourke

  7. MarkHB says:

    I’m loving every minute of Repubs blaming Obama for Madhoff, I really am.

    You kids are hilarious. You crack me up sideways, you do.

    Meanwhile in the “thinking not dogmatic” corner… BWAAAAahhahahahhahahaaaaaaaaohfuck.

    (No, I’m not a Democrat, Republican, or any other little box. I don’t ask anyone else to do *any* of my thinking for me).

  8. Brian Dale says:

    “…people in charge of the regulating wouldn’t be able to find their own asses if you pumped them full of radium and put a Geiger counter in their hands.”

    Maybe not, but what a lovely idea.

  9. LittleRed1 says:

    The (financial) SEC has, as best I can find, never initiated an investigation. Everything has been brought to their attention and then investigated.

  10. Dave says:

    …but nobody at the SEC had the desire or the understanding to look into the issue.

    Something I heard early–and can’t even cite, let alone confirm–was that the SEC did smell something fishy. So strongly, in fact, that they investigated ol’ Bernie no less than eight times, never once managing to pin anything on him.

    Mind you, I’m not disagreeing with your conclusion, just your reason: more rules wouldn’t have changed the outcome (“oh, if only we’d audited him nine times, we could have prevented this; when will we ever learn?!”).

    Two important lessons:
    1) There will always be a sufficiently clever and motivated criminal to slip past the authorities, and there’s nothing you can do about it; and
    2) No matter how many rules and investigations they do, the authorities will fail to catch on to 1).

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