Bernard Madoff died in prison [on April 14, 2021].
He ran the largest Ponzi scheme in history.
An unbelievable story of greed.
I was a Madoff investor, in fact one of the few who not only did not lose money, but made a huge return (21%) on my investment.
It happened in the 1950s. Although hazy in my mind, I will relate what I remember.
I was living in the Avenel Housing project: 10 units on two levels of five units each. It was built by well-known architect Gregory Ain.
One day Clarence Gerber, the younger brother of close friend Serrill Gerber who lived in the lower level of the “Project,” paid me a visit.
I welcomed him in and we talked.
“Morrie, how would you like to join our investment group I am head of called ‘Gerber Investment.’ We invest in a fund run by a Wall Street financial wizard called Bernie Madoff. I have a large sum of money invested in the Madoff fund. Crazy as it seems, it has been paying me consistently a return of 22%. Many of our friends have invested in it. How about it?”
“Clarence, thanks. I know all about the fund and the investment groups and the money they are earning. I’ve been giving it a lot of thought for the past few years. I know your fund has been earning huge returns on your investments. The money I have in my CD (certificate of deposit) is yielding a return of 6%, low compared to what your fund is earning. Thanks Clarence. I’ll think about it.”
I gamble when I am almost sure of the outcome. I was troubled.
Many of my close friends were doubling their investments every quarter. My savings at an insured bank was earning .05%.
The next time Clarence called me I said O.K.
“I will take out of the bank a sum of $10,000 and invest it with the Clarence Gerber fund.”
Every quarter was bringing “wild returns,” better than 80%. …I withdrew my interest and re-invested the principal.
Some of my friends had built their stake to over a million dollars. At home, they were living the good life, eating at the most expensive, prestigious restaurants, buying expensive homes and driving “Audies.”
Then, suddenly, it all imploded. Madoff confessed to his son his “phony huge profits” were nothing but a Ponzi scheme.
It all blew up, it was a fake.
He pleaded guilty, was sentenced to prison and died in prison.
(April 15, 2021)