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As Arvedlund shows, Madoff was no ordinary liar, but a master of the type of lies people really wanted to believe. He kept his clients at a distance and allowed handsomely paid friends to solicit new ones for him; playing hard to get created an irresistible mystique. Now, Arvedlund tackles the tough questions that are still unanswered in the wake of Madoff's collapse: Did he start off as a legitimate money manager or was he a fraud from the beginning?

Were there indications of larceny at the very start of his career?

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Why did Madoff's biggest supporters within the industry, such as Walter Noel of Fairfield Greenwich and Ezra Merkin of Gabriel Capital, ignore the warning signs that were so apparent? Did they choose to remain ignorant as long as their commissions rolled in? Why did SEC investigations fail to catch Madoff's Ponzi scheme even though several people had voiced concerns about his operation?

Who else helped Madoff carry out his scam? His family and close associates have denied any involvement, but was it possible for one man to engineer a heist of such scope? With her keen investigative eye, Arvedlund presents a sweeping narrative of Madoff's career—from his youth in Queens, New York, to his early days working for his father-in-law, to his time as chairman of the NASDAQ exchange, and finally to infamy as the world's most notorious swindler.

She offers a riveting glimpse of Madoff the man—an indifferent student with little ambition who transformed himself into a star with a talent for trading, a reputation for innovation, and an unmistakably erratic nature. Readers will be fascinated by Arvedlund's portrayal of Madoff, his empire, and all those who never considered that he might be too good to be true. In , she wrote the first skeptical article about Bernard Madoff for a major publication.

This is her first book. Moynihan U. Courthouse in downtown Manhattan. Outside, a strong, wintry spring wind blew, but inside the air was stuffy and hot with tension. The seventy-year-old Madoff sat just past the wooden barrier that separated the public seating gallery.

Beware Bernie Madoff Books

He did not look at anyone, just stared straight ahead, as everyone in the room and on the closed-circuit television watched his every move. Always impeccably dressed, Madoff wore a bespoke business suit in his trademark charcoal gray, paired with a lighter gray silk tie. He was flanked by four attorneys, two on either side of him.

His longtime lawyer, Ira Sorkin, was seated on his immediate right, and another attorney, Daniel Horwitz, sat to his left. In front of Madoff and his lawyers were another table and chairs, full of federal prosecutors, but Madoff could see only the backs of their heads. Just a few months before, Madoff had commanded the respect and admiration of Wall Street, of his wealthy friends and his charities, of his thousands of investors and believers.

But on this day, he commanded nothing and no one, except his own voice.

Too Good to Be True: The Rise and Fall of Bernie Madoff

On this morning, at ten a. Madoff rested his fingers on the top of the table in front of him and occasionally took a sip of water from a glass. District Judge Dennis Chin entered, everyone in the room stood, including Madoff, the phalanx of attorneys, dozens of reporters, and a court sketch artist. There was also a mob of angry Madoff investors, calling themselves "victims" and "casualties," who had come to seek vengeance on the man who had done them wrong. Nodding his head of wavy, pewter-colored hair, Madoff listened and answered calmly throughout Judge Chin's many questions and clarifications that followed: "You understand you are giving up the right to a trial?

If there were a trial, you could see and hear witnesses, offer evidence on your behalf," and so forth.

No, Madoff didn't want a public trial; he didn't want to have to point the finger at anyone else. Given the scope of the charges against him, it was a stubborn move. To each question, Madoff answered, "Yes, I do. He was going to plead guilty and would alone admit to everything he was charged with, including securities fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, making false statements, and perjury. Madoff's blue eyes looked weary and his expression resigned. No longer was he sporting that insane-looking smirk, the smile — of what?

Now, three months later, the smirk had vanished.

He began wringing his hands. One of the prosecutors in front of him, Acting U.

Attorney Lev Dassin, stood up to address the court. Madoff's fraud are unprecedented. Attorney Marc Litt, the chief prosecutor in the case, then stood up and told the judge that Madoff could face up to years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines. Madoff, tell me what you did," Judge Chin said. Madoff had prepared a statement, which he read out loud from stapled paper pages.

He took full blame. He wasn't going to cooperate with the prosecutors, wasn't going to help them out and bargain for leniency or a lesser sentence.

The Rise and Fall of Bernie Madoff

He wasn't about to indict his family or anyone else for helping in this fraud — a fraud so large, encompassing more than four thousand client accounts, that even the Nobel Peace Prize winner and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, whose charity had lost millions, had been driven to calling Madoff "a thief and a scoundrel" in public. Madoff's voice was a strange blend of Queens-accented Noo Yawk and a soft but firm monotone: "Your honor, for many years up until my arrest on December 11, , I operated a Ponzi scheme.

I am actually grateful for this first opportunity to publicly speak about my crimes, for which I am so deeply sorry and ashamed. I am painfully aware I have deeply hurt many, many people. I am here today to accept responsibility for my crimes by pleading guilty and, with this plea allocution, explain the means by which I carried out and concealed my fraud.

I always knew this day would come. I never invested the money.

I deposited it into a Chase Manhattan bank. Madoff's statement took only about ten minutes, and while he spoke he did not turn to or eye the packed crowd in the gallery. When he finished, he sat down, and the courtroom broke out into a series of murmurs. Madoff would not have to spell out any details of his crime, nor would he implicate anyone else. There was just his guilty plea and no further explanation. The tension crescendoed, for now it was time for three victims to make short statements. The first, George Nierenberg, took the podium and glared over at Madoff. Madoff then glanced over his shoulder, but Judge Chin admonished Nierenberg to return to the argument at hand.

Book Too Good To Be True The Rise And Fall Of Bernie Madoff

For what reason, if any, should the judge not accept Madoff's guilty plea, and not send him to jail? A filmmaker whose family had lost everything, Nierenberg wanted to know why there was no conspiracy charge by the government — surely there were other people who had helped Madoff in his decadeslong fraud who should be held accountable too.

A fascinating drama of a story. Erin Arvedlund. The untold story of the Madoff scandal, by one of the first journalists to question his investment practices Despite all the headlines about Bernard Madoff, he is still shrouded in mystery. How did he fool so many smart investors for so long? Who among his family and employees knew the truth? The person best qualified to answer these questions is Erin Arvedlund. In early , she was suspicious of the amazing returns of Madoff's hedge fund. Her subsequent article in Barron's could have prevented a lot of misery, had the SEC followed up.