Talk:Bernard Madoff/Archive 2

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investors with the largest potential losses include:[edit]

Some of the entities listed where funds that were conduits for investments, not individual investors. Maybe I am being too picky. Geo8rge (talk) 03:50, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

NY Post quote or lack thereof[edit]

Regarding this revert [1] by User:Betathetapi545: the quote "worked the so-called 'Jewish circuit' of well-heeled Jews he met at country clubs on Long Island and in Palm Beach, and through his position on the boards of directors of several prominent Jewish institutions, he was entrusted with entire family fortunes" does not appear in the source. It also uses the word Jew/Jewish too many times (see above the Uberjew discussion above). Xasodfuih (talk) 20:30, 14 December 2008 (UTC)

Sorry, I saw the quote on page 2. But it seems odd to pick that particular paragraph to cite in its entirety. I don't oppose using "Jewish circuit", which also appears in Dalily Telegraph (in this context), and is a generally accepted term with many other appearance. But there's no point in stuffing the article with excessive repetitions of the word Jew/Jewish, even if a few newspapers do it. Xasodfuih (talk) 20:37, 14 December 2008 (UTC)

Experienced Wikipedians know that the internet has a mirror effect. A phrase or expression appears in one news outlet report and then is picked up and duplicated by other media outlets - often without attribution. So one appearance compounds on the other - giving the illusion of multiple sources. When sometimes there is actually only one original source. By way of example (and even more troubling) - The Daily Telegraph quote that referenced "born into a Jewish family" early in this article may have been gleaned by the Telegraph journalist from the Wikipedia article (where it had only recently been added). And subsequently the fact that it appears in the Telegraph was then added into the Wikipedia article quoting it as a source! Maybe there is a word for this phenomenon in the Wiki universe. If not - there ought to be a word to describe such action. In any event we need to be very conscious of these factors. Davidpatrick (talk) 21:30, 14 December 2008 (UTC)

Are you contesting that Madoff is born to a Jewish family and claiming that the Daily Telegraph only wrote that because it appeared in Wikipedia? Xasodfuih (talk) 22:53, 14 December 2008 (UTC)
Very clearly not contesting that he was born to a Jewish family. I am flagging the attention of those who care about such things to two separate issues. 1) That often times a fact or assertion that appears in one media outlet is then copied from that first outlet and repeated in multiple outlets. Creating the illusion that the fact or assertion has multiple sources - when it may just a solitary assertion that has been MIRRORED. 2) I also flagged attention that I think - am not certain - that on this particular occasion the Telegraph journalist copied part of that text from the then current version of the Wiki article. I believe that the text was added to Wiki BEFORE the Telegraph story was posted online. Such garnering of info - and even straight-forward copying or adaptation of text on Wikipedia - is common-place by mainstream journalists in recent years. And we have to be aware of this. Especially when the media source is subsequently cited on Wiki as a source for the info. Anyone can see the danger of that. In this instance the fact happens to be correct. But what if it WASN'T? THAT is the reason why we have to be careful about such matters. Davidpatrick (talk) 00:51, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

Replace the quote, I say. It is unnecessary, and makes it sound as if almost all of his clients were Jews (in a not-neutral manner). There has to be a more appropriate way of stating how he got his clients. How about the quote from the NYTimes in which a woman said she begged to sign up with the firm. Mikco (talk) 01:17, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

The New York Post and New York Daily News are really not good sources. There are plenty of reputable news organizations that have reported on this as well. Let's not use the most tabloid paper we can find. ask123 (talk) 19:40, 25 December 2008 (UTC)

Access International fund manager commits suicide[edit]

The manager of one of Madoff's feeder funds just committed suicide.[2]. --John Nagle (talk) 19:49, 23 December 2008 (UTC)

I think it is time to add a section that lists all the people who lost jobs, families and now even lives thanks to Mr Madoff. In the meantime we have a crowd here determined to make sure that his behavior has absolutely no bearing on the standing of his community instead of focusing on the damage that has already been done by Madoff not only to people outside his community but people inside it as well, if that is not cutting off your leg to save your toe what is? http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601208&sid=aa_2yi6Cq_8A —Preceding unsigned comment added by 91.180.21.63 (talk) 20:22, 23 December 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps I'm a crowd of one (probably not), but your statement "determined to make sure that his behavior has absolutely no bearing on the standing of his community" suggests some ethnic tension behind your comment. Let's focus on what has actually been proven, and what has actually appeared in the reliable press, rather than making any ethnic or religious generalizations. Listing all the people affected by this is an endless task. So far it's been limited to dollars lost, with some emphasis on charities, and one suicide. What else would you like to add? Smallbones (talk) 22:48, 23 December 2008 (UTC)
Stay tuned; the scandal is still unfolding. The receiver says there may be more to this than a simple Ponzi scheme. --John Nagle (talk) 01:42, 24 December 2008 (UTC)
Whenever a communal identity is politicized, as in lobbying for specific foreign and domestic policy positions at the expense of other communities, its internal structures become objects of scrutiny -- sorry, but that is a fact, get used to it. Now the key to fairness here is to accept that Madoff's first victims were members of his community, as one member of his community put it below -- it is affinity fraud, like Ponzi's. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 217.136.154.210 (talk) 12:57, 24 December 2008 (UTC)
Let us list the charitable foundations by their affiliation/interest, and let us not exclude religious establishments, and for once let us be honest, Bernard L. Madoff targeted members of his community both individually and institutionally, to keep denying this is to live a lie. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.247.59.17 (talk) 18:31, 25 December 2008 (UTC)

I think that is correct to be concerned about the possible backlash that can hurt the community as a whole. Again, the solution is to emphasize that Madoff committed affinity fraud above all else. One of the things that should worry people like smallbones here is that there have been very few people willing to argue here with their names down. I argue that this is because of the intimidation created by some organizations representing his community against their (and notice I did not say the community's) political opponents. If Madoff were Bernard Maloof (an Arab name) do you think that the word Arab would not have been plastered all over. For comparison, check out the Sirhan Sirhan entry http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sirhan_Sirhan How about if he were Barraka Maloof, a Muslim name, do you think that it this fact would not be plastered all over? It is time to be absolutely fair and nothing less, and this means discussing Madoff's use of affinity fraud. http://www.forbes.com/opinions/2008/12/24/unemployment-risk-recession-oped-cx_sl_1225lee.html —Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.247.59.17 (talk) 11:34, 26 December 2008 (UTC)

Source of $50 billion figure[edit]

I may have missed it, but I don't believe that this article says that the $50 billion figure comes from Madoff. Shouldn't this be in the article, if it is not there? JohnnyB256 (talk) 00:55, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

If there's no objection, I'll add that to the article. JohnnyB256 (talk) 13:27, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

No objection from me. This figure is only an estimation, after a proper audit it could be significantly more or less. It is, however, already in the article, though the language is not really technically correct. The total amount (50 billion USD) is alleged, that is, it is an estimation, however, the crime itself is not alleged, because Madoff has already confessed, he simply has not confessed in a court of law yet. The very fact that he confessed and turned himself in (rather than suicide or tried to run) shows though that Madoff does have a conscience, and this conscience probably is tied to his religious belief (suicide is not the answer to those who believe in an eternal soul). What I am interested in, is his motive? Was it just pure greed, to get one more million than his neighbour or was it something more sinister, something much more organised? How did he reconcile his philanthropy and societal goodwill actions with the knowledge he was hurting a lot of people by deceiving them? When he refused other investors into his fund, was it to create an air of exclusivity or was this the first signs that he was starting to have a change of heart in what he did? What were his plans, to take his secret with him to the grave? Could he go to the grave with the knowledge of leaving the weight of his crimes with his sons. Would he have had a change of heart, if he was never caught? Now that blood is involved, how heavy can a conscience be for one man? If he is to be excommunicated, who will forgive his sins on his deathbed? These are very interesting questions. -- Mindeagle (talk) 01:27, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, they are interesting questions. I will go ahead and add that the figure is from him, but first I want to go back and find the article where I saw that originally. It was in coverage right after the scandal broke. JohnnyB256 (talk) 15:32, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
I added it in. I had a bit of confusion initially as to the best place to put it, but I think that it is now in the proper place, and properly sourced also right next to footnote 9, which goes to Times.uk. JohnnyB256 (talk) 15:44, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

Reference "SEC Complaint" (11 Dec 2008) added[edit]

I have added a reference to the "SEC Complaint" (11 Dec 2008), published by SEC (currently ref #4). In this document, a lot of facts are mentioned which turned up later in the papers. e.g.: Madoff also stated that he estimated the losses from this fraud to be approximately $50 billion (page 6). Maybe other references on these facts, e.g. to papers, could be deleted (because they must have their facts from this same source). -DePiep (talk) 09:19, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

Yes I think that deals well with the "Bernie admitted" aspect of the 50Billion number. --JohnnyB256 (talk) 15:59, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

Jewishness not Notable?[edit]

It does seem to be a wiki standard to note ethnicity/religion, especially jewish, if known. Lycurgus (talk) 05:48, 12 December 2008 (UTC)

See [BLP]. It is very clear.
"Category names do not carry disclaimers or modifiers, so the case for the category must be made clear by the article text. The article must state the facts that result in the use of the category tag and these facts must be sourced."
It appear that he was Jewish and publicly supported Jewish groups philanthropically, but you need to find reliable sources that document this and put it in the article in a relevant way.Notmyrealname (talk) 19:26, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
Let's please keep cool on this religious semi-edit war. It's clear that he is Jewish and publicly self-identifies as such.
The Haddasah(sp?) website (included as a source earlier) identifies itself as Zionist and him as a contributor. What's not clear is that his religion has anything to do with his "notable activities" (probably not) or "public life" (sort of, maybe, not really - take your pick). So it's a toss-up. Why not just include his Jewishness and try not to insult anybody?
BTW - I think it should be clear that the SEC,FBI number of $50 billion is a large over-estimate. $18 billion in assets under management plus $700 million in capital ==> How can you steal $50 billion? That's not to say $18 billion not a large chunk of money. Well, common sense is WP:OR in this case - but mark my word on this. Smallbones (talk) 19:29, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
We have to go with the published numbers, and the $50 billion is what is currently being reported. Not trying to start a war. The source used appears to be a personal website not an organizational one. If someone adds this with a reliable source, I'll have no problem with it. For categories to be used, however, it needs to be mentioned in the text somewhere.Notmyrealname (talk) 19:36, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
Smallbones, you're incorrect here. It's VERY possible to steal or cause losses of $50 billion in the securities industry when you only have, say, $17 billion under management. Every major brokerage house has what is called a "stocklending" desk - it's a major profit center - you don't know how much stock Madoff may have borrowed from other banks or hedge funds - and had just been paying the interest. Plus, there are other things called "repos" where you can get your hands on other banks/hedge funds' stock and bonds (as long as you pay the interest). Ask somebody that you know that is in the industry - they will tell you. It's very VERY possible. The fact that Madoff himself quoted the $50 billion sort of lends credibility to the number in any case. And, you know what, it could have even have been that the $17 billion figure was simply the STATED amount under management, and perhaps Madoff had actually taken in much more than that but didn't quote the higher numbers because it might have attracted somebody's attention. There are all kinds of ways to get to $50 billion even though the stated funds under management were only $17 billion. More to the point - I figure the easiest way to get to a higher number is, say he borrowed $1 billion of stock/bonds from the stocklending/repo desk of, say, Credit Suisse, then he sells the stock/bonds to pay investors who want to take out money over the years - Madoff is only paying, say, 7% to borrow this stock/bonds, so it "only" costs him $70 million a year to do it - but in the meantime, he can spend the billion - or, more likely, he spent, say, only half the billion, and used the other half billion to pay 7 years worth of interest on it (7 years x $70 million = $490 million). He could have easily gotten away with that sort of scam for the better part of a decade. And then when the jig was beginning to be up, he could go out and borrow TWO billion and pay back the ONE billion. You can keep on doing this as long as you have new money coming in the door - and a bull market also helps. Madoff got caught when we hit a bear market and, on top of that, investors started yanking money out. Believe me, it is very possible to cause $50 billion in losses with only $17 billion under management. Ask somebody in the industry.Betathetapi545 (talk) 21:27, 13 December 2008 (UTC)

The reason why religion is probably notable in the case of Bernard Madoff is because so many of his victims were Jews. As The New York Post pointed out (and printed), he "worked the so-called "Jewish circuit" of well-heeled Jews he met at country clubs on Long Island and in Palm Beach, and through his position on the boards of directors of several prominent Jewish institutions, he was entrusted with entire family fortunes."[1] Also, The New York Times has reported that he was referred to as "the Jewish T-bill".[2] It's an integral part of the story, in this particular case.Betathetapi545 (talk) 21:20, 13 December 2008 (UTC)


Laurence Leamer has a piece on Huffington Post that makes a case that the Jewish social world to which Madoff belongs is an integral part of this story, even while Madoff had a number of clients who were non-Jewish individuals or corporations. Here's the cultural context according to Leamer: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/laurence-leamer/bernard-madoff-and-the-sh_b_150624.html Nigel 20:11, 15 December 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 198.86.248.1 (talk)

I think it's relevant as Betathetap says, a lot of his victims were Jewish. However I can see the concerns. I'm curious, I looked at the article's history and it goes back to the 11/12, is that when the article was created?Ticklemygrits (talk) 08:00, 14 December 2008 (UTC)

"17:03, December 11, 2008 Smallbones (Talk | contribs) (787 bytes) (start, will update as news comes in)" I think that's an hour or 2 after the arraignment. (pretty quick if I do say so myself!) If I may claim "starters privelige" (just made that one up), please don't say anything anti-semitic here. He's Jewish - so noted - but anti-semitism has no place here. Smallbones (talk) 01:21, 16 December 2008 (UTC)
Betathetapi makes a convincing case. These stories weren't out yet when this discussion started, but that's exactly the kind of relevance and sourcing that these type of things require. Ticklemygrits- Yes, that's when the article was created.Notmyrealname (talk) 00:57, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

It is clearly biased to try to suppress information on his Jewishness, which is routinely a major feature of the article about any reputable Jew. De-emphasising Jewishness only when the person in question is not a credit to other Jews would create about as clear cut an example of systemic bias as you could find. Abberley2 (talk) 11:23, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

The fact that he's a Jew and, also, many of his victims are Jewish is not a valid reason for continual mentioning of religion here. It's a conincidental link. The only relevance of his Judiasm is in a biographical sense. And, if he was, say, Christian, then that would be noted instead. If he was of a certain ethnicity, perhaps that would be noted too, again for biographical reasons. That's the only way in which his religion is relevant to this article. The fact that a number of his victims are Jewish is a meaningless link, even given the fact that he gave charity to Jewish causes. After all, many of his victims were Christian and Muslim too. And many of his victims came from England. And many came from France. And many came from India. Who cares? None of this is germane to the subject. It's all irrelevant. When a Christian commits a crime, do you often see reference to the fact that his/her victims were Christian as well? Of course not. That would be ridiculous, unless there was a legitimate reason to do so. Perhaps it seems relevant to some of the editors here, but that's just in your heads, folks. There ain't no real connection, no real reason to mention it, except for in a biographical context. ask123 (talk) 20:16, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
Jews are amazing people. They are better educated on the whole, and more cultured and better motivated. Check out the population numbers in percentage terms for each country. Tiny. To suggest that jews rule the games so they can game the rules using superior connections, leverage, and knowhow is, well, not a Christian thought, and some might say anti-semitic. JohnClarknew (talk) 22:57, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

I've put back (again) the Jewish reference in the personal information section. This is biographical, nothing to do with this person's recent fraudulant behaviour and standard wikipedia practise. Will people please stop removing it. Vexorg (talk) 22:54, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

I don't know if it's right for the infobox, Vexorg. I know that people sometimes put that in the userbox for Jewish subjects. But I never see it in the infobox for subjects of any other religions. If I'm wrong, then, by all means, keep it. But, if it's not common practice to put a religious designation in the infobox for Christian subjects, then it doesn't belong here either. ask123 (talk) 14:32, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

It's impossible to surpress his jewishness. Look at his nose. —Ƿōdenhelm (talk) 00:46, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

I hope you're kidding, Ƿōdenhelm. That's just in poor taste. If you're going to go there, at least make it funny. ask123 (talk) 14:30, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

It seems like you all are getting ethnicity confused with religion. To point out someone as being Christian specifically labels their religous tendency but does not label their ethnicity. However, being Jewish could mean you practice Judaism OR that you are of Jewish ethnic descent. I think whatever you put in this article needs to be specific as to whether you're referring to his religion or ethnicity. His religion apparently is not relevant--at least yet--but his ethnicity compared to that of his victims certainly might be. jrn0074 15:09, 17 December 2008

Jrn0074, no I'm not getting ethnicity/heritage and religion confused. You are right that there is a difference between an ethnic/cultural Jew (by heritage) and a religious Jew. A person can be one or the other or can be both. In this case, we know he's an ethic Jew. As for his religious sentiments, I don't know and it's irrelevant outside of a biographical context. As far as your suggestion that his being an ethnic Jew might be germane to this article outside of a biographical context, I don't see how. As I've written numerous times on this talk page, he didn't seduce clients with his religion. And clients weren't drawn to him because of his religion. They were drawn to him because of his success in the securities business and his reputation (which, at the time, was pretty damn good). So I don't see how his being a religious or an ethnic Jew is relevant to his crime. I know, at this point, his being an ethnic Jew is not relevant to this article outside of being a biographical fact. And I doubt his religious heritage or religious beliefs will ever be relevant to his crime. At least as of now, there's no connection. ask123 (talk) 22:11, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
I should have thought it all boils down to an accounting issue, where did he book the new money into what category? New money is a capital investment, and capital can only be distributed as some kind of a dividend; earned interest, or profit from sales, belongs in his p/l account. I'm no accountant, but apparently the guy kept 2 sets of books, and whichever one he presented to the IRS should simplify legal procedures. I don't see how an IRS audit wouldn't have uncovered the fraud years ago. How about some input from a CPA here about accounting for Investment Funds, which we can all understand? JohnClarknew (talk)

It should be noted that many of his victims were Jewish.

Yes, many of his victims were Jewish. And many of his victims were Christian and of other religions too. The bottom line is that it's fine to point out that many of his victims were Jewish, but we should be careful that the language we use does not mislead the reader. While many of Madoff's victims were Jewish, it wasn't a majority that was Jewish. Even when Jews are over-represented, they aren't a majority -- usually not even close to a majority. So, if we editors care about accuracy here, we must make this distinction, that Jews were an over-represented minority of his victims. 66.108.113.216 (talk) 19:35, 25 December 2008 (UTC)
Yes, many of his victims were Jewish. And many of his victims were Christian and of other religions too. The bottom line is that it's fine to point out that many of his victims were Jewish, but we should be careful that the language we use does not mislead the reader. While many of Madoff's victims were Jewish, it wasn't a majority that was Jewish. Even when Jews are over-represented, they aren't a majority -- usually not even close to a majority. So, if we editors care about accuracy here, we must make this distinction, that Jews were an over-represented minority of his victims.
Also, The New York Post and New York Daily News are not good sources on this Jewish issue. There are plenty of reputable news organizations that have reported on this as well. Let's not use the most tabloid paper we can find. ask123 (talk) 19:38, 25 December 2008 (UTC)
Here’s Wikipedia on Michelson, the physicist who determined the speed of light:
Michelson was born to a Polish-Jewish family in Strelno, Provinz Posen in the Kingdom of Prussia (modern Strzelno, Poland). He moved to the United States with his parents in 1855, when he was two years old.
Here’s Wikipedia on Einstein:
Albert Einstein was born into a Jewish family in Ulm, in the Kingdom of Württemberg in the German Empire on 14 March 1879.
Here’s Wikipedia on Modigliani:
Amedeo Modigliani was born into a Jewish family at Livorno, in Tuscany. Livorno was still a relatively new city, by Italian standards, in the late 19th century.
Here’s Wikipedia on Heine:
Heine was born into a family of assimilated German Jews in Düsseldorf, Germany, which was then occupied by France (becoming part of Prussia in 1815).
Here’s Wikipedia on Madoff:
Madoff was born in the New York City borough of Queens into a Jewish family( A Gemini-there is always something secretive they keep within themselves),[16] graduating from Far Rockaway High School, where he joined the swim team.[17] He is married to his high school sweetheart Ruth Madoff[18] and has two sons, Mark and Andrew.[19] He graduated from Hofstra University in 1960 with a degree in political science. Madoff has owned an ocean-front residence in Montauk since 1981[20]. His primary residence, valued at more than $5 million, is on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.[21] Madoff is listed as chairman of his Upper East Side building’s co-op board.[22] He also owns a home in France[23] and a $9.3 million mansion in Palm Beach, Florida on the Intercoastal Waterway on North Lake Way just north of Flagler Memorial Bridge.[24] He is a member of the Palm Beach Country Club and owns a 55-foot (17 m) fishing boat named “Bull”.[22]
As you can see, the correct wording for Madoff's bio should be "Madoff was born into a Jewish family in the New York City borough of Queens...". Which is how I will edit it, if no one objects. Another possibility, of course, would be to eliminate any reference to religion in Einstein's bio.--Abenyosef (talk) 19:56, 25 December 2008 (UTC)
I can´t see why it is an issue for Madoff´s religion to be given a high level of importance given his high standing in the Jewish community and the importance within the Jewish community of many of his victims. That this fraud took place to a large extent within the Jewish community is what makes it interesting just as it would if it happened with a Christian evangelist or a financial scandal within the Catholic church. It may or may not be embarrassing to the Jewish community that Madoff is Jewish but that is not an issue for Wikipedia, it is relevant and interesting and very much part of the story. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Paulistanos (talkcontribs) 22:01, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
Is the Pope Catholic? Or his parents? Wikipedia doesn't say.
I have been looking for info on the religion and ethnicity of business and political leaders. I guess I am in the wrong place - from the above discussion, the practice here seems to be to suppress that info in most cases. I was surprised to find that the official US website gives the religion of Congressmen - would you suppress the info even if it is publicly available like that? Fourtildas (talk) 01:45, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

Made-off[edit]

Is his name not pronounced "Made-off"? I've heard that from several media reports today. It seems ironic. OddibeKerfeld (talk) 20:55, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

More than ironic, it's almost too good to be true. Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? 00:31, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

Was he trying to confess when he called his yacht "BULL" ? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Paulistanos (talkcontribs) 13:50, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

New "Jewish charities and foundations" sub-section[edit]

I have just pulled together a "Jewish charities and foundations" sub-section under the "affected clients" heading, and have added new names, new dollar amounts, and new sources to back the names and amountsup.

A simple summing of the claimed amounts lost allows us to arrive at an approximate $2 billion total for all affected Jewish charities and foundations.

As far as i know, this list is now the most up-to-date and inclusive list of affected Jewish charities and foundations online, and i hope that others will add to it if they find more information in days to come. This particular aspect of the case is what interests me most, probably due to its place as an example of affinity fraud. (Lest anyone wonder, i myself am Jewish and i do not see this scandal as anything more than a typical affinity fraud; the original Mr.Ponzi, after all, preyed upon Italian-Americans. So it goes.)

All my edits tonight were done unlogged in, but i am User:catherineyronwode, and my real name is catherine yronwode 64.142.90.33 (talk) 09:10, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

The Wall Street Journal has compiled a Madoff victim list. It's a long list, too long for this article. Even if you only list victims that lost more than $100,000,000, there are 23 entries. Biggest charity losers are Hadassah ($90 million), Yeshiva University ($110 million), and the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles ($18,000,000). But they're all big enough and diversified enough that this won't kill them. (The head of the J. Gurwin Foundation, which lost an unspecified fraction of $28 million, said "We took a body blow. We're not dead".) Note that these are just direct investors in Madoff's operation; there's a whole class of investors who bought in through "feeder funds" not listed. The impact of this thing is huge. --John Nagle (talk) 17:18, 24 December 2008 (UTC)
If this list wants place in Wiki, the list of notable affected institutional investors from previous should be restored. Not just a small clip of some affected financial firms as appears currently. And the sub-section should not only be devoted to Jewish charities, but rather to the many other charities affected as well. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 173.52.174.129 (talk) 05:48, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Lead[edit]

I've made some edits to the lead section to make it read better and also changed around the order of paragraphs, to put in order of significance. JohnnyB256 (talk) 16:09, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

$17B versus $50B[edit]

I think the article should mention this, from numerous articles including [3] "A document filed by Madoff with the Securities and Exchange Commission early this year said the advisory business served between 11 and 25 clients and had about $17.1 billion in assets, the complaint said" You can't lose $50B on $17B, so the whole truth remains in doubt. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 74.68.152.245 (talk) 16:51, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

IP, there are many and sundry ways to lose $50 billion on $17 billion in declared assets, moreover the $17 billion claim may have already accounted for deep, earlier and undisclosed losses. Gwen Gale (talk) 17:01, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
GG - I've included a ref to the size discrepancy under investors, do please take a look at this, I'm trying to make sure it's not OR. The mainstream press has ignored this common sense question, "How do you lose $50 billion of your investors' $17 billion investment?" It's not as easy as you might think. At a minimum it says that the report was wrong or the SEC was asleep at the wheel. Smallbones (talk) 17:08, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
At least hundreds of investors, but more likely thousands, are exposed because shares in the fund were widely hypothecated. It's very easy to lose multiples on an investment if leverage is involved, even easier if what wasn't stolen was highly leveraged in a desperate try to put back the stolen funds. Moreover, given the cited lack of transparency, a claim of $17 billion in assets for a fund which had been operating for years speaks nothing of losses which may have built up from earlier years. Gwen Gale (talk) 17:14, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
Just trying to get the facts in, without OR. See your talk page. Smallbones (talk) 17:27, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
Sources will show up. I'm not worried about it. Gwen Gale (talk) 17:31, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

Here's a recent article which leads with the 17B [4] 74.68.152.245 (talk) 23:04, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

Here are the losses - info compiled by the financial times - the source is updated almost everyday as losses mount: [5] 19 december 2008 —Preceding unsigned comment added by 202.134.76.10 (talk) 09:47, 19 December 2008 (UTC)

The total losses as given by the FT and other journals may include alot of "Double Counting". For example, RBS is included as "losing" nearly $600 million. However if you read RBS press release, it states that it is a "potential" loss because in simple terms it lent money to hedge funds, who in turn invested with Madoff. RBS says that if ALL those hedge funds have no assets, then that is the potential loss. However, no doubt some, if not all, of those very same hedge funds, have also reported their losses, hence the double counting by both hedge funds and the bank. On the other hand, there are probably countless hedge funds and individual investors who have simply decided to keep quiet, and not tell everyone how stupid they were.Although (talk) 21:07, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Political Registration[edit]

I have an old copy of the NYC voter database. As of 2006, Bernie Madoff was not registered with any political party, (although every other Madoff was registered Dem). He had a blank for the party data field. This means that he could not vote in the primaries. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 67.237.176.186 (talk) 20:19, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

Of course, that didn't stop him from making political contributions overwhelmingly on the Democratic side. :-) - jtmatbat 11:52, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

'Alleged' etc[edit]

Compadres, much as many people would prefer otherwise, Madoff is a living person and therefore strict rules apply which I have just perused. References to him as a "con man" and for the Ponzi scheme in the infobox require "alleged" as an antecedent, I believe. I also question his being placed under the aegis of the "criminal" wikiproject. Look, I know none of this is going to get a libel suit or any repercussions, but shouldn't we be as strictly neutral as possible?

Oh, and I almost forgot, what's with the constant replacement of his nationality in the infobox with his religion? That kind of thing may offend some readers and needs to stop. JohnnyB256 (talk) 02:44, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

See next section on Reference "SEC Complaint" (11 Dec 2008). In this SEC-complaint is written:

Madoff stated that he was "finished," that he had "absolutely nothing," that "it's all just one big lie," and that it was "basically, a giant Ponzi scheme." (page 6, #23). So maybe the necessary 'alleged' could be extended with " and self-proclaimed" (lier, Ponzi-man, ...). Maybe the SEC-papers allow more clear and strong language. -DePiep (talk) 09:27, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

Perhaps. Maybe we can get a legal or administrator opinion? I just want to be sure all the i's are dotted. I realize that saying "alleged" may be and probably is namby pamby, but it seems to be standard practice before conviction. JohnnyB256 (talk) 15:59, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
What about "Accused"? LaidOff (talk) 16:01, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
Sure, that conveys the same thought. JohnnyB256 (talk) 16:43, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
Very good point and I suppose some of us have been eager to jump the gun, because of the enormity of the alleged crime involved. In time's of collective crisis I'll admit there is a certain pleasure in finding a scapegoat to offload one's problems onto. In the interests of neutrality, yes we should use language that will not sway public opinion and jeopardize a fair hearing. Looking deeply, most of our knowledge of him has come through mainstream media outlets and we all know how neutral and reliable they can be? Your right he is a living person and the case is hardly underway. "Alleged", "Accused" and even "self-confessed" (must put in original source of news agency that broke the story) are all good choices. Actually, I think the self-confessed part is notable, it is what makes this story unique as it shows that there was some remorse from his actions, as he has decided to co-operate and work with investigators. As far as my limited knowledge of white collar crime goes, this does not fit the typical pattern of behaviour of suspects (Christopher Skase affair in Australia is a case in point). I'll try and find the source again, but I am sure I read somewhere that he has admitted that around 200 to 300USD million of the money is left in the main hedge fund account (just enough to pay legal fee's for his defence team). What is also notable was that he was unable to raise the necessary funds needed for bail which is substantially more than what he had left in his account, hence the house arrest with electric tagging -- Mindeagle (talk) 07:59, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Jewish charities the "foundation" of Madoff's alleged scheme: Prof. Zuckoff[edit]

According to Mitchell Zuckoff, a professor of journalism and the author of a book on the original Ponzi scheme, the fact that Madoff targeted Jewish foundations and charities was not merely a form of affinity fraud -- it was the actual financial core of his plan to create a stable Ponzi scheme. I have included enough of the meat of Zuckoff's convincing arguments to make this intelligible to the average reader. Zuckoff's point is that without the charities and their "5% rule" he would have been at the mercy of demands for large payouts at irregular intervals -- but by slowly parasitizing the foundations, which only needed their 5% or a bit more each year, he had access to at least 20 years' worth of cash -- much of which he could cover in good yars by actually investing, if he chose to. It's a brilliant theory -- i really think Zuckoff has answered the question of "Why the Jewish charities?" in a way that makes perfect economic sense and supplies a large piece of the missing motivation. User:catherineyronwode, not logged in 64.142.90.33 (talk) 08:56, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

That's interesting and it somewhat answers my question above, but I still have misgivings. JohnnyB256 (talk) 14:16, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
That is a very interesting theory -- also, it is able to address the issue of the nature of the hybrid Ponzi-Affinity charity fraud scheme he concocted. In my community, we avoid investing with each other in order to keep our relationships money and profit free -- although we will buy goods and tangible services from each other. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 91.176.247.129 (talk) 15:57, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
Thanks Catherine for sharing Zuckoff's theory. It is probably the best account for Madoff's motivation I have heard so far. It surely seems like the plan of a mastermind, a perfect crime with little chance of being caught. In actual fact, this is not much different to the way banks work when it comes to lending money - that is making money out of "time". Come to think of it, even casinos work this way, as long as the payouts are small and regular, the casino will always win and be one up....but you need a large sum of capital to initiate the whole thing and get the ball rolling. I think Zuckoff might be onto something here, as it was only when Madoff's investors requested larger payouts and at irregular intervals that he realised the game was over and threw his hands up in surrender. Can you provide the source to Zuckoff's theory? This is definately notable, but we need more sources, before we can place this in a section on theories/motives of affinity fraud. It would be ironic if Madoff read Zuckoff's work on the original Ponzi scheme to get the initial idea. -- Mindeagle (talk) 10:09, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

"Wikiproject Criminal Biography"[edit]

I've raised this issue before and no one responded, so I'm putting it in a sep section to get more attention. Are we all absolutely sure that Madoff should be put in the "criminal biography" wiki project at the top of this page? I ask because I'd have thunk such a thing should be reserved for people after conviction. What say y'all? JohnnyB256 (talk) 00:56, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Issue resolved by changing of banner to "WP:CRIME." JohnnyB256 (talk) 15:07, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
No conviction of yet, but I don't think you have to worry about him suddenly being found innocent. Money has been lost and a crime has been committed this is a definite fact. It is only the extent of the crime that is the unknown now -- Mindeagle (talk) 10:15, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Bernard Lawrence Madoff vs Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC[edit]

What is the subject of this article, is it the person Madoff or his firm? Both are bold in the entry. Thats like putting Bill Gates and Microsoft in a single article with a double entry. --217.83.57.130 (talk) 20:54, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

The subject of the article is the person Bernard Lawrence Madoff. Obviously his business, which is closely held by the family, has a close relation to the person. Smallbones (talk) 15:15, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Fraudulent Conveyance[edit]

--John Nagle (talk) 05:32, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

{{editsemiprotected}} The article states that the statute of limitations for fraudulent conveyances is 6 years. However, the statute of limitations is only two years.

11 U.S.C. 548(A)(1): "The trustee may avoid any transfer of an interest of the debtor in property, or any obligation incurred by the debtor, that was made or incurred on or within 2 years before the date of the filing of the petition

Citation please. Leujohn (talk) 08:15, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
The article is not currently semiprotected. The fraudulent conveyance paragraph (in the recovery section) has 2 references. Reuters says 6 years, "Bankruptcy-receivership practices make all investors vulnerable, he added. "Once they can go into bankruptcy they can go back six years. Anything past your principal, I'm guessing, is fair game to be brought back in." Forbes says 2-3 years. I'd guess that the original entry of this material was done by a lawyer, and I found it (and the doctrine itself) to be somewhat aggressive, and have toned it down previously. I'll look at it again, but remember that anybody can edit this. Smallbones (talk) 15:12, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
I guess the article IS semiprotected. Shouldn't there be a lock symbol on it? Smallbones (talk) 15:32, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
where actual fraud is alleged, the Statute of Limitations is six years from the fraudulent transfer or two years from the time the fraud was discovered or could have been discovered with reasonable diligence.[6][7] Basically, there is a penalty for knowing there is fraud but not doing anything about it.Wapondaponda (talk) 18:20, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
So I'll (optimistically) take that to mean the current paragraph is more or less ok. Please change it if it isn't. The part that I found aggressive is where people who didn't know it was fraud can have the $'s taken back (is this the "constructive fraudulent conveyance" part?) Of course we can't give legal advice, and lawyers writing here are apt to split hairs. Smallbones (talk) 19:30, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Look for a reliable source on that. There's a distinction between transactions which can be unwound retroactively in bankruptcy, and financial claims involving fraud. Both are possible, but the law on each is completely different. --John Nagle (talk) 05:32, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
Actually the Uniform fraudulent transfer act covers both. This is what happened with the Bayou Hedge Fund Group as per businessweek article.Wapondaponda (talk) 07:25, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

Opening Rightly Changed to Include "Confessed Felon" (Citation already exists later in article)[edit]

This fact is cited in a quote in the same article: "According to the SEC, Madoff confessed to an FBI agent that there was “no innocent explanation” for his behavior," (See footnote 70).

So the article even notes and cites later that he has confessed to the FBI, although not yet in court. Therefore it is acceptable to start the article by including the phrase "confessed felon".

205.240.11.90 (talk) 21:40, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

"Confessed criminal", maybe? --John Nagle (talk) 16:29, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

Madoff Firm's Assets[edit]

SIPC President, Stephen Harbeck, reported to congress on January 6, 2009 that the Madoff Investment firm has liquid asset in excess of $800 million to satisfy debtors of the firm. —Preceding unsigned comment added by M778little (talkcontribs) 08:43, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

"Satisfy", no. That would imply full payment. --John Nagle (talk) 16:30, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

Transposed numbers in "Previous SEC Investigations" section[edit]

The first sentence under the heading "Previous SEC investigations" reads: "Madoff Securities LLC was investigated at least 16 times in eight years by the SEC or other regulatory authorities." However, the source article for this sentence reads: "Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC was examined at least eight times in 16 years by the Securities and Exchange Commission and other regulators..."

So fix it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.180.84.33 (talk) 13:03, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

Revert "Confessed felon"[edit]

Please let's be proper about this. Nobody is a felon until they are convicted, so we cannot call Madoff a felon, even though it might appear likely to us that we should be able to later. Also the "confessed" part needs to be put in the proper format. The FBI and the SEC have said that he has confessed. They will have their chance in court to prove that. Do I think that the FBI might be lying about this? Well, I can't see why they would, but the FBI has lied about some serious things in the past. Smallbones (talk) 21:58, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

If we have sources we can say he confessed,and there are an abundance. Calling him a felon without a conviction should be treated as vandalism22:10, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
There's only one ultimate source, the FBI, as far as I can tell. Since all other sources go back to the FBI, we can only say that "according to the FBI, he confessed." I suppose that mention of a "confession" with it directly footnoted to the FBI news release would be ok to most folks, but let's not push it any further than that. Smallbones (talk) 00:07, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
I agree. Felon is too strong language to use at this stage. Footnote to original FBI press release would be the most correct and official source. Yes you are right also about the FBI lieing about a lot of serious things in the past, but for this one, I can't see any political motivation to frame Madoff. For a start he is well connected, with friends in high places. Secondly of what interest is it to the FBI? What would they stand to gain from it? Unless Madoff had connections to terrorist organisations or was using the scheme to fund paramilitary operations elsewhere there is no immediate motive for a framing. The media reports suggest he lived an affluent lifestyle with multiple homes and yachts. One can safely assume at this point in time he was using the money to fund his lifestyle. One thing though, as much as a terrible crime it is to deceive people like this, you can't argue that the guy didn't have balls, for the sheer audacity of daring to pull off something of this scale. -- Mindeagle (talk) 10:33, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
If the subject is Arab or Muslim it is sufficient to cite a news article quoting unnamed US government officials in order to assert guilt. Fourtildas (talk) 05:04, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

Joseph S. Forte[edit]

If you love editing this article, you may like editing Joseph S. Forte

Smallbones (talk) 14:27, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

Any Quotes Where Madoff Admits To Being A Sociopath?[edit]

He has been pretty open about his crimes, has he also admitted to having no conscience and no empathy for others? If so, citing this along with adding an article section on his sociopathy and links to the wiki article on sociopaths would be relevant.

205.240.11.90 (talk) 21:43, 2 January 2009 (UTC)


Sociopaths don't "admit" to being a sociopaths. It's obvious he is one, however, and this has been stated in EVERY news venue from CNN to Time... It would enlighten a lot of people about sociopaths but some editors refuse to put this in the article for some unknown reason. Can't fight the beast that is wikipedia. Angelatomato (talk) 04:13, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Quasiracial/religious classifications[edit]

There is certainly an ethnic/religious angle here, but only because Madoff made something out of it, and exploited it. It doesn't seem necessary to me to classify his family in any given way in the introduction. As for the way he made others trust him because of their shared religion and of how they saw his origins - it is good that that is being treated, and perhaps it can be treated at greater length and more explicitly.

It's also a good thing that there are no tags of the "X Jew" and "Jewish X" at the bottom. At the same time, it seems to me that such tags are grossly overused all over wikipedia. If we are going to delete them from articles on objectionable characters, and insert them at the bottom of articles on laudable individuals, then we are introducing a rather crude kind of systemic bias into Wikipedia. Feketekave (talk) 07:16, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

As a previous user said: see the Modigliani, Heine, Michelson and Einstein biographies. Actually, this is as good a time as any to have a general discussion of these issues. Feketekave (talk) 08:23, 14 January 2009 (UTC)


(Comment: I was asked to come here by some of Feketekave's edit summaries.) I'm generally against such classifications unless the subject strongly self-identifies as such, or the religious classification played an important role in the subject's public life. I certainly agree that such categorizations are generally overused. So, I think that the Modigliani categorization should have been removed, as you did. However, the fact that Albert Einstein was an ethnic Jew, and identified very strongly with the Jewish people played a significant part in his public life, and so the Jewish-related categories should not have been removed. (Moreover, there are reams of discussion in the archives of the talk page about precisely this issue establishing consensus for inclusion in the category.) Removal of Heinrich Heine from the category is also clearly inappropriate, given that he is widely considered to be an important Jewish poet by both secular and Jewish scholars. In short, I encourage you to remove persons from inappropriate categories, but also to attempt to exercise better judgment in doing so. siℓℓy rabbit (talk) 20:00, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

Silly rabbit: I have made no attempt to remove the relevance of the Jewish question (namely, some) to Heine's life; I simply believe that (much like here) categories are an exceptionally bad way to go about it.

How Israelis think of Heine is really a matter about Israelis, not a matter about Heine. (Any human group tries to gets its hands on laudable men that arguably do not quite belong to them; witness some things written and done in Poland and Lithuania about Mickiewicz.) Still, I removed none of that material.

As for Einstein: to put things crudely, he was less "Jewish" than Madoff and more so than Heine. To wit, Einstein was not from anything anybody would recognise as a Jewish background - in part because his parents seem to have belonged to no religion, and in part because the so-called ethnic category "Jewish" is to some extent a U.S. ethnic construct based on the idealisation of certain cultural patterns that may have had some relation to Madoff's background of origin (New York, etc.) and none to Einstein's.

At the same time, Einstein was an early romantic Zionist, believed in something called the Jewish people - to the point of criticising people who thought of Judaism primarily as a religion - and stated those opinions publicly; all of that can go in such sections of his biographical article as treat the times in his life in which he took such positions.

There is one way in which these categories affected Einstein more than Madoff: Einstein experienced much more antisemitism than Madoff presumably ever did - not only, mind you, during the Nazi period. We should have a footnote somewhere mentioning some of the discussions that were going on in faculty meetings (recorded in writing!) when Einstein was a young lecturer getting hired.

As for Madoff: again, here there is the desire to categorise, though some of it comes from racist quarters rather than from ethnic patriots on ego trips. So much the worse. At the same time, Madoff did not just happen to spend a great deal of his social life in exclusive clubs associated to one particular sector of the upper class; he used the way he was seen - by people in the same environment and by people from different environments but of the same faith and having related kinds of self-perception - in order to con. Feketekave (talk) 01:20, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

I should probably add that something particularly obnoxious about categories (or lists) is that non-inclusion or deletion of a category [X] tends to be taken as a statement that the subject is a [non-X]. These issues are not binary. Feketekave (talk) 01:22, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

While I'm not too fussed about categories and the infobox, why has his Jewish background been removed from his personal section? Ticklemygrits (talk) 03:56, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Article should be split[edit]

IMHO, the alleged fraud should be in a different article than this one, the article on BLM himself. There are many resaons for this: size is one, but the current arrangement also diffuses the biographical details of BLM because of this article's (necessary) focus on the fraud, and with more and more knock-on effects (Fairfield Greenwich, Bank Medici, etc.), the connection to BLM become more remote: taken to the extreme, you would imagine having all of WP's American Civil War content within the Abraham Lincoln article. I will be happy to do the split, and welcome any help, but want to get some reactions/comments before proceeding. UnitedStatesian (talk) 02:49, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

IMEHO, the only thing most people are interested in about Madoff is the scandal, at this point they are one and the same thing. Of course there could be some separation made: just take the sections "Personal" and "Career" and add a bit from "Philanthropy" and you've got your BLMadoff article. But I don't think that would solve anything. Much of that material would have to be retained here as well. I don't see much of the fraud material getting very remote from BLM, after all it is alleged that this is a one person crime! In short, why not wait until the article gets at least 50% bigger, then the splits you are writing about might start to show more. Smallbones (talk) 04:11, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
The only thing that people are going to care about will be the fraud, I doubt that anything other than fraud-related matter will be added to the article going forward, so splitting the article seems moot. patsw (talk) 21:07, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

Should category "American Jews" be included?[edit]

There are 2,824 Pages in the category "American Jews." I'm not entirely sure I support categorizing anybody by ethnicity or religion, but Wikipedia currently supports these categories, and there would be something lost by not including them. Note that on the page Wikipedia:Categorization of people states: "By gender, religion, race or ethnicity, and sexuality See also: Wikipedia:Categorization/Gender, race and sexuality Currently, Wikipedia also supports categorizing People by religion and People by race or ethnicity. The placement of people in these categories may be problematic."

If we take as given that ethnic/religious categories are allowed, I think Madoff should be categorized in the category "American Jews." 1) He seems to self-identify with the group in his charities, memberships, etc. I haven't seen a reference to which synogague he's a member of, but other memberships seem to imply self-identification. 2)The New York Jewish community seems to identify him as a member. I have seen references on this, so just let me know if you need one here. 3) He is commonly identified by reliable sources (New York Times, Washington Post, etc) as Jewish. 4) there is some mention in reliable sources that the scheme is an "affinity fraud" based upon his ethnic group, so this is relevant to the article. In short, if anybody qualifies for this category, I think Madoff should.

At the same time, there has been some repeated Anti-semitism shown on this page. We cannot allow this, and we must be constantly vigilant against it. Is the category by itself anti-semitic? I think not.

I'll suggest that we include the category, and argue elsewhere, maybe at Wikipedia talk:Categorization/Gender, race and sexuality whether the category should be allowed at all. Smallbones (talk) 13:19, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Please see the section #Quasiracial/religious classifications above for a discussion (let's try not to fragment this discussion). -- lucasbfr talk 16:46, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
That link is just 2 sections above. I think that the only argument here is whether the general category should exist or not, i.e this is not an article-specific discussion. Let's have the discussion at Wikipedia talk:Categorization/Gender, race and sexuality rather than here - that is if there is any discussion that we should get rid of all racial/ethnic/regilious categories on people. Smallbones (talk) 22:47, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
I agree, just about every biographical article about a person whose ethnicity is known has at least one ethnic category. I don't see why Madoff should be an exception. Naturally controversy is never far from these categories but that should be discussed Wikipedia talk:Categorization/Gender, race and sexuality.Personally I would prefer category by ethnicity and occupation, rather than the overpopulated ethnicity categories. Wapondaponda (talk) 23:10, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

It is abundantly clear with the many categories that exist on Wikipedia concerning successful Jews of Science, Arts, and etc. that Madoff's classification was withheld by the interests of the very lobby who created many of those categories. 96.243.177.81 (talk) 19:28, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

My issue is the sourcing. Could someone please add the source, within this section of the talk page, that would support the categorization, and then I will add the source and the cat to the article, unless someone beats me to it. Right now, the article does not contain such a source. UnitedStatesian (talk) 03:10, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
More generally, I would encourage editors to consider adding the template {{Category unsourced}} to articles where they believe a category is not sufficiently supported by the sources in the article. UnitedStatesian (talk) 03:20, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
I don't understand, do you mean that there should be a source that states Madoff's ethnicity. Wapondaponda (talk) 03:22, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
Yes. UnitedStatesian (talk) 03:27, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
I think it was one of those fairly obvious issues that no explicit source was necessary. But that said, here is an article from bloomberg news. The quote is "While Madoff is both Jewish". I don't think a source that explicitly states that he is American is necessary.By not including the category we may actually be giving excuses to some unscrupulous individuals to make disruptive edits. Wapondaponda (talk) 03:36, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
As I recall, this discussion has happened before on this very talk page. Sources have been given (plenty of them), citing various authorities that call Madoff a Jew. For whatever reason, that was not sufficient. It seems to be rather cyclical. What I've observed is that someone will say why can't we call Madoff a Jew? And then people will ask for sources. After sources are given, there will be some discussion that concludes we can't add that fact to the article. Rinse and repeat. There was a rather notorious sockpuppetmaster who made a big deal about the Jewishness of various people, so obviously, for whatever reason, this is an incredibly contentious issue with a lot at stake for a lot of people. So I prefer not to make a big deal about it. But I do find it a bit strange how there are many articles on famous scientists, mathematicians, etc. that mention they are Jews (and there is probably much less sourcing for that than Madoff), but somehow calling Madoff a Jew (something no one would have contested before the charges of Ponzi scheme) is so contestable. --C S (talk) 03:48, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
There was a source mentioning Madoff's ethnicity until Feketekave removed it. And I agree with Smallbones that this a is an argument about whether ethnic based lists and ethnic classifications should be on Wiki, rather than whether Madoff fits into those lists/ethicities.Ticklemygrits (talk) 03:54, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

I agree with Smallbones and Ticklemygrits in that this is part of a broader argument. Still, this article both belongs to that broader discussion and illuminates it to a certain extent. There has been a parallel discussion going on at Talk:Albert Einstein. And yes - I do find it very odd that it is somehow fine to claim that famous scientists (most of them atheists, some of them Christians, Mithraists, etc.) are part of a club, but criminals automatically do not belong in it.

It would be best if this discussion could be taken to a place where people who never visit the page on Madoff can participate. I've copied some of my posts (and some replies to them) to Wikipedia talk:Categorization/Gender, race and sexuality - perhaps we can take the discussion there.

Feketekave (talk) 11:24, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

PS. I added a source, mind you. Feketekave (talk) 11:41, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

Sounds fair enough Feketekave, I can understand your point of view but I don't think it really relates to the article as the policies stand now. But I can see that debate of the policies is a good thing.Ticklemygrits (talk) 13:01, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

"Alleged" does not appear where there has been an admission[edit]

The use of "alleged" applies in most cases where there is a warrant, arrest, or an indictment prior to conviction. When the accused maintains innocence -- "alleged" is what the style guide calls for. However, this is not the case with Bernard Madoff. Many reliable sources recognize that he made an admission and quoting him stating "it's one big lie". So, for example, the Wall Street Journal puts it simply

Mr. Madoff last month confessed to running a Ponzi scheme that cost investors more than $50 billion. "Cuomo Subpoenas Madoff Investor". Wall Street Journal. 2008-01-16. 

There has been no denial in media reports that he made this admission which started a chain of events leading to his arrest on December 11, 2008.

Where "alleged" does apply is with respect to the specific criminality of what he admitted to doing. There has been no indictment and therefore no list of alleged criminal acts and exact statutes he is accused of violating.

Please sign your posts with (Smallbones (talk) 04:25, 19 January 2009 (UTC)).
According to the U.S. Supreme Court "The principle that there is a presumption of innocence in favor of the accused is the undoubted law, axiomatic and elementary, and its enforcement lies at the foundation of the administration of our criminal law."
Why should Wikipedia be immune from this elementary law? Madoff has been charged with 1 count of fraud. I submit that anything not yet proven in court that in effect says "he's guilty" should be prefaced by "alleged" or something similar. This has been discussed at length above on this page. I was surprised by the sentence in the WSJ, but do please note that they say "alleged" further down.
I've left a note at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Crime and Criminal Biography for guidance (this should be a basic there) and will put back "alleged." If you want to remove it, please clear it with them or WP:BLPN first. Smallbones (talk) 04:25, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
The Wikipedia editors make the judgment calls on what goes into the Wikipedia. It is obvious that we do not wait for a Supreme Court decision before entering text here. Since you asked, yes, the Wikipedia is immune from the constraints of the judiciary of the United States. I agree with you on the presumption of innocence when the defendant has not made a statement that he has conducted a fraud. We are dealing hear with an unusual case here -- the defendant made an admission which became widely reported in reliable sources. Also,Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Crime and Criminal Biography is for guidance not for making final editing decisions. I will take it up over there.
Let's advance the discussion a bit:
  1. Madoff made an admission that he conducted a fraud which was reported widely in reliable sources. The admission appears all over the media without a qualifying alleged, and is not sourced solely from the SEC complaint.
Here's where I disagree entirely with you. Nobody says that their reporters got a confession directly from Madoff or from his sons. The sole ultimate source is the FBI. In the first weeks of the scandal this was very clear in every reliable source. Perhaps now they are getting a bit lazy and not explaining directly where the "confession" comes from. Smallbones (talk) 16:27, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
  1. Neither Madoff or his representatives has not denied or disputed the December 10 admission. They can do their talking in court and not the media, but it is worth noting here it is undenied and undisputed.
  2. Assume for the sake of the argument that the admission was fabricated totally by the SEC lawyers -- how can the government hope to make an conviction stick when they lacked probable cause for the arrest which is based on the December 10 admission?
  3. Madoff is alleged to have violated securities laws. He plead not guilty.
  4. The fact the admission appears in the SEC complaint doesn't automatically trigger a downgrade to alleged.
  5. He made the admission -- not "alleged" to have made the admission to employees (identified in media accounts as his sons)
  6. It is possible to write the article stating the admission of the fraud as fact and the criminality of the fraud as alleged. patsw (talk) 16:07, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
  7. Articles dated December 12 or December 13 may include alleged to refer to the admission on December 11. Subsequent interviews and reporting confirmed that the account of the admission was made by Madoff given in the SEC complaint was accurate. patsw (talk) 17:00, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
  8. In a filing to the court, Madoff's laywer confirmed the December 10 admission. I give the citation and a quote from the article. patsw (talk) 17:47, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

"Religon=Jewish"[edit]

While true, I wonder why this is necessary. It is true that he ripped off Jewish charities, but I think that it may be harmful to this encyclopedia to highlight that in the infobox. JohnnyB256 (talk) 03:28, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

Truth is never harmful to any encyclopedia, omissions can be and cover ups surely are.Enemyunknown (talk) 14:23, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
It's hardly a cover up, as the article makes his religion relatively clear. I just question why his religion is in the infobox, if that is not ordinarily done. His religion being singled out may offend some readers. I'm less concerned after reading the section below, but still have misgivings. JohnnyB256 (talk) 15:10, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
Yes Enemyunknown you are supremely correct, but JohnnyB256 has a case in point. There is absolutely no need for the jewish charity information in the infobox. This point has been raised over and over again in these discussion pages. It is fair to say that his religion/ethnicity has been adequately covered in the main body of the article. It had been removed a couple of times in the past, but is here to stay in its current guise, as there have been no objections, and nobody is suppressing any truth that we know of so far. It is a simple fact and nothing more. Let's try and move beyond any repressed conspiracy theories as Wikipedia is not the place to discuss hypothetical opinions. If your a rational thinker you will realise that if there is a conspiracy it will be with a group of associates, and hopefully in the end the truth will be revealed as we go deeper down the rabbit hole. It is very easy and actually quite lazy to follow fanciful accusations - you can't label a whole people with the stroke of a pen from the actions of one man. Be honest and stay true! -- Mindeagle (talk) 08:59, 3 January 2009 (UTC)


Mindeagle says, "you can't label a whole people with the stroke of a pen from the actions of one man." Tell that to the German people. I know, special cases require typical hypocracies. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.248.10.125 (talk) 22:41, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

SEC Investigations[edit]

Ira Lee Sorkin should have a page: He is the common denominator and the key player in this game of musical chairs between all the parties: judge, federal prosecutors (their former boss) and defendants, past, present, and future.

please add facts in quotes: " Represented by Ira Lee Sorkin, Madoff's present attorney," Avellino & Bienes were accused of selling unregistered securities, and in its report the SEC mentioned the fund's "curiously steady" promised yearly returns to investors of 13.5% to 20%. However, the SEC did not look any more deeply into the matter.[3] Through Mr. Sorkin, the lawyer who once oversaw the regulator’s New York office, the men agreed to return the money to investors, shut down their firm, undergo an audit and pay a fine of $350,000. Avellino then complained to the presiding Federal Judge, John E. Sprizzo,that Price Waterhouse fees were excessive. In April, 1993, the Judge ordered him to pay the bill of $428,679 in full. However, by the end of January, 1993, Mr. Sorkin and Mr. Avellino managed to curtail the audit, even though the judge concluded that Mr. Avellino had not been a credible witness in the case." "’92 Ponzi Case Missed Signals About Madoff" by Alex Berenson The New York Times January 17, 2009 p. A1 NY edition. Retrieved 1-17-09.</[4] Mashkin (talk) 09:26, 21 January 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Furtive admirer (talkcontribs) 05:06, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

The image of Madoff leaving court is particularly poor[edit]

The image on this page is very fuzzy. There are much better images of him that can seen on Google images. Why can't one of these be put onto this page? 86.145.12.146 (talk) 20:25, 25 January 2009 (UTC)


OK, you've got a source, but ...[edit]

OK, I see now that you actually have some information (rather than just pulling this out of nowhere) - but you just put the ref in the article! Nevertheless, I advise caution here.
  1. The NYTimes article dated Jan 9 (not the 15th) says "Ira Lee Sorkin, a lawyer for Bernard Madoff, also refused to comment on the chronology of his client’s confession. In a filing he made this week opposing bail revocation, Mr. Sorkin reported that his client confessed to his sons, his brother and his wife on the same day, Dec. 10." To my knowledge this hasn't been retracted.
  2. But the January 10 Boston Globe reprint of the NYTimes article says only "Ira Lee Sorkin, a lawyer for Bernard Madoff, also refused to comment on the chronology of his client's confession." Which is surprisingly different.
  3. Todays (1/19) Telegraph "Based on the confessions Mr Madoff allegedly made to his sons and to an FBI agent prior to his arrest on December 11, the accused fraudster was, at least since 2005, when the current fraud charge dates back to, operating what is known as a "Ponzi scheme""
  4. Today's Bloomberg "The probe follows by a month the alleged confession by New York’s Bernard Madoff of running a $50 billion Ponzi scheme."
2 reliable sources still (today) calling it an "alleged confession" The NYTimes 10 days ago saying in effect that they have proof that he confessed, but then some slight backing off on this (in the Boston Globes reprint).
The most aggressively I'd put this is "The New York Times reports that Madoff's lawyer confirmed the confession in a court document." or something similar, but not in the lede. This deserves following up on, but is not conclusive IMHO. Smallbones (talk) 18:29, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

I made the changes suggested immediately above, but... Diana Hendriques (the same NYTimes author as for the Jan 9 article) wrote in a Jan 13 article "Mr. Madoff told F.B.I. agents last month that he had overseen a financial fraud and estimated that it had cost investors as much as $50 billion, according to the criminal complaint filed in federal court in Manhattan. The fraud was continuing just days before Mr. Madoff confessed it to the F.B.I., according to a lawsuit filed by a New York company that asserts Mr. Madoff took in $10 million from it on Dec. 5." My emphasis If the author of your reference doesn't repeat the supposedly confessed confession when it seems called for, why should we believe it? She used the equivalent of "alleged", why shouldn't we? Smallbones (talk) 19:15, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

It's now my turn to impute laziness on the part of the media. Some wrote alleged on December 12 and have not changed the template to follow the progress of the story: the interviews with BMIS-connected people and Sorkin's filing which confirm it. Sorkin refuses to comment to the media (of course) because he sees no advantage to his client to do so. Sorkin hasn't confirmed or denied the December 10 admission to the media. The December 10 admission belongs in the introduction since it is the trigger event for the arrest, the arraignment, the multiple bail hearings, and all that has followed. The fact that the December 10 admission appears in the SEC complaint doesn't automatically downgrade it to an allegation. His sons Andrew and Mark Madoff went on the record to the media as early as December 12 with their account of the admission by their father the previous day. patsw (talk) 20:35, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but it still doesn't cut it if the cite (2) given is all the backing you have. It says "“Mark and Andrew Madoff are not involved in the firm’s asset management business, and neither had any knowledge of the fraud before their father informed them of it on Wednesday,” according to a statement by Flumenbaum of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in New York." At first reading that comes close to what you wrote above, but with a lawyer's statement (not the Madoff sons') you have to be pretty careful and read exactly what it says. It is a completely negative statement. It does not say that they know now about a fraud committed by their father, it says they didn't know about a fraud before Wednesday - you are imputing that this means that they do know about a fraud now. It does not say the Madoff Sr. confessed to them a fraud that he committed, only that he "informed them" of a fraud on Wednesday. You are putting words into the mouth of somebody who obviously chooses his words carefully.
Please remember that your second example of why we don't need to use "alleged confession" - Bloomberg - is, as of today (1-19), still using "alleged confession," as is your first example (as of (1-13)) Diana Hendriques of the NYTimes. If they are using "alleged confession" so should we. Smallbones (talk) 21:19, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
I restored back the citation for sons' statement without removing alleged. The statement affirms that the sons were informed of the fraud on December 10 by their father. It specious to contend that the long fraud already stipulated at Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC could have been perpetrated by anyone other than Madoff himself and the father was merely reporting his discovery of the fraud. Is anyone suggesting that Madoff is actually a victim of an unnamed individual or individuals who perpetrated this fraud?
I can reach out to the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Bloomberg reporters and get their take on when they would consistently remove alleged from the account of the December 11 admission. It is obvious we Wikipedians worry more about this than financial editors do as recent articles abound both with and without alleged. patsw (talk) 23:30, 19 January 2009 (UTC)
The word "alleged" is used too much, I think about eleven times. Other words can be used. I agree with the position that you have to deal with these things conservatively, no matter how cut and dried it may seem to be. "Alleged confession" seems to be a bit much, so maybe there is some other way of referring to it, such as "the FBI said he confessed" or words like that. At one point a few weeks ago Madoff was in the "criminals" category despite the lack of conviction, so at least that is not an issue anymore. JohnnyB256 (talk) 15:15, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

Bernard Madoff and His Wife, Ruth Madoff and Hadassah[edit]

RE: copyright a book. trademark a product. please reinsert in abridged form. Ruth's frame of mind and the influence she gave to or gleaned from her husband is why the new york times wrote the article. Her perceptions of power and success should be stated or inferred. It is the evolution of her goals for fame, recognition (and notoriety!) thanx 4 your assistence. some facts that you deleted, however are relevant.

RE: Hadassah. This is merely the first one which has come forward which will be compelled to return money from non-profit organizations. We will add more as they are disclosed. If you delete this, it will be difficult to locate it again. The link is a JTA article from New York Jewish Week [8] The facts were taken from the article, not the blog attached. Please reinsert. It can be deleted later, but it is already difficult to locate on the jta website. thanx. Furtive admirer (talk) 17:45, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

The claims I removed about Ruth Madoff were (i) Unsubstantiated by the references (the issue that was raised was whether the title of the book violated trademark, not copyright. (ii) Were a copyright violation in themselves, copying from some web-site. Anyway the NYTimes article provides what appears to be reliable information about the nature of the Kosher cookbook Ruth Madoff was involved with, but I do not think it coresses the bar of interest. Mashkin (talk) 09:26, 21 January 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mashkin (talkcontribs) 23:21, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Why is everyone so persnickety about including Ruth Madoff's lack of due diligence? facts are facts and this fact had two sourced external links and a quote from the aggrieved party. This will be the beginning of a list of indiscretions for her. Would you rather begin a new page for her? According to the NY Times, they are inseparable. so... her accomplishments or failures are credit worthy for documentation. She cheated another who had the rights to her book title, and went ahead with publishing and lost a lot of money for her publisher, just like her hubby for his clients, so water seeks its own level...

Bottom line, both husband and wife are a team and play as a team; they lack due-diligence and it should be stated as such.

Furtive admirer (talk) 18:44, 21 January 2009 (UTC)


The Hadassah stuff is interesting. Unfortuneately I can't find anything other than the above link that looks like a reliable source. [9] looks close to being an RS, but identifies itself as a blog, and is just quoting the original source above. If another source could be found, and the edit is carefully worded, I'd put that material in, if others agree. Smallbones (talk) 13:38, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

The original source is ny jewish week, highlighted in the link within the jta article: http://www.thejewishweek.com/viewArticle/c36_a14606/News/New_York.html

found: http://blogs.jta.org/philanthropy/article/2009/01/15/1002277/jewish-week-over-20-years-hadassah-withdrew-130-million-from-madoff-account

"Hadassah’s treasurer, Marci Natan, has acknowledged to donors that Hadassah withdrew $130 million over the years. One of the callers to Natan, Stan Epstein of Santa Monica, Calif., expressed surprise when she told him of the $130 million. And he said she told him that Hadassah made another $50 million with Madoff that the organization reinvested with him..... Epstein, a commercial real estate transaction attorney who in the last 10 years has been a plaintiff’s class-action attorney, said it is his understanding from conversations with several bankruptcies lawyers that Hadassah may be forced by New York State law to return millions of dollars. (He said he is not representing anyone involved in the Madoff scandal.) He said the fact that Hadassah is a charitable organization does not exempt it from the law."

please reinsert it in some section. more will have to make refunds per NY law. thanx. Furtive admirer (talk) 18:44, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

A quick check on Google shows a Jerusalem Post article: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1228728239808 JohnnyB256 (talk) 15:11, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

I reinserted it using the Jewish Week source [1] under "recovery of funds" section. thanx. Furtive admirer (talk) 17:32, 24 January 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Furtive admirer (talkcontribs)

I guess so, but wouldn't the Jerusalem Post be more reliable? JohnnyB256 (talk) 18:10, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
I changed the wording of that part. The $42 million figure was guesswork by a lawyer. I haven't read it through all that thoroughly and am not sure this is the best place to talk about the Haddassah stuff. JohnnyB256 (talk) 18:17, 24 January 2009 (UTC)

the original source is NEW YORK JEWISH WEEK -- JTA AND JERUSALEM POST GOT IT FROM THERE. Just leave it there until a new sub section is added. i won't be able to find it again later! How do i link to read the archived talk pages here? i can't find it. thanx.Furtive admirer (talk) 02:46, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

Madoff's Sons Did Not Turn Him In To Authorities[edit]

This assertion has been repeated since the story broke and has been published by many media outlets.

His sons contacted their attorney who, in turn, was required to report his knowledge of the potential crime.

The cynics might assume that this is a concerted effort to ensure the sons are not implicated in the alleged misdeeds.

69.244.219.135 (talk) 00:10, 25 December 2008 (UTC)

Interesting. If someone could give a reference for this sequence, then it can be added to the article. -DePiep (talk) 13:34, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
Yes, it is contrary to what I have read. However, I don't believe lawyers have an obligation to report ongoing crimes to the authorities except maybe in the case of violent crimes. --JohnnyB256 (talk) 13:50, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
I'm trawling sources. This one [10], already a reference in the article, only states involvement of 'the two senior employees' (e.g. fact 21.), but not even any family-tie with Madoff. The seacrh continues. -DePiep (talk) 14:00, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
I cannot find any evidence of this idea. Even SEC does not mention from who the info came, or which people were present at Madoff's appartement on 10 Dec (reading the text, there couold have been another person, e.g. a lawyer). Very shady. -DePiep (talk) 23:38, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

The person who actually turned Bernie in to the SEC was an attorney named Martin Flumenbaum from the firm of Paul, Weiss. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.244.219.135 (talk) 00:40, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

I am not an attorney but if you need a source...try Wiki itself under "Misprision of felony"

United States federal law "Misprision of felony" is still an offense under United States federal law after being codified in 1909 under 18 U.S.C. § 4:

Whoever, having knowledge of the actual commission of a felony cognizable by a court of the United States, conceals and does not as soon as possible make known the same to some judge or other person in civil or military authority under the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

Apparently the concept dates back to English common law...but is, in fact, U.S. law. I believe that many state Bar Associations have requirements for members of the bar to report any knowledge of a felony. Madoff's sons would have no such requirement because it involved a family member. It's probably why most defense attorneys will never ask a defendant if they are, in fact, guilty. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.244.219.135 (talk) 23:48, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Still, I cannot find the source for a fact that his employee-sons did turn him in (where do the main papers know this from?). Nor an advocate (as 69.244.219.135 states). The only facts are: ' two senior emplyees'. What does NYT, Bloomberg etc. know, and where from? -DePiep (talk) 22:25, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

DePiep, here is a link http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/16/business/16madoff.html?em to a New york Times article (published 12/15/08) identifying the "two senior employees" as Madoff's sons...allbeit from unnamed sources. It also states that Flumenbaum was the person who notified authorities.

It is also interesting to note that today's (01/05/09) bail revocation hearing was followed by multiple stories that stated Madoff's mailing of valuables was once again brought out by "family members".

I continue to believe that this is a concerted campaign to keep Madoff's brother and sons from facing charges. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.244.219.135 (talk) 02:28, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

To be clear, the law in general always trumps attorney-client privilege, in any US jurisdiction some penalty from a reprimand by the local bar to prison time could be expected for a lawyer failing to disclose a serious and public crime. A given practitioner could only rationally be expected to take a gamble on this with a decent surety of not being discovered, which obviously was lacking in this case. 72.228.150.44 (talk) 17:24, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

I edited the intro to present the events in the order in which they took place according to published media accounts of that week. If there's a published account that Madoff's sons did not pass the information to the SEC regarding the admission by Madoff, I will correct the article. If the sons did not speak directly to an SEC lawyer but chose to have their lawyer speak to the SEC's lawyer to start the chain of events that is of no consequence. patsw (talk) 21:06, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

Explanation for Behavior? Sociopath?[edit]

Madoff fits perfectly with the profile of a sociopath or psychopath. (As a little psych 101- Sociopaths repress guilt, psychopaths simply don't feel it...sociopaths are made, psychopaths are born...) Anyway, there are over 10,000 references to him being a sociopath on the web now, and it's a BIG question on everyone's mind just "why" this man could do something like this while seeming so "nice and friendly." Sociopaths and psychopaths are not fully understood in our society, but corporate america allows them to run rampant. If one good thing came out of madoff, it's a giant spotlight on just how sociopaths operate. Everyone loves them until they are destroyed by them. So, I suggest putting in the following text: "Although not formally diagnosed, behavioral evidence lends strong support to the hypothesis that Madoff's behavior was driven by sociopathic tendencies" with a link to the main article on sociopaths to read more...and a citation to any 1 of 11,000 links online that call him a sociopath or psychopath. Thanks

Anything along these lines would be purely speculative and therefore improper for Wikipedia. Also, psychologists generally don't differentiate between psychopaths and sociopaths--they're usually used interchangeably, and the debate about whether they're born or made has not been decided. I'm not sure where you're getting your info, but it doesn't track with standard definitions, including what Wikipedia has to say about psychopaths and sociopaths.QuizzicalBee (talk) 02:09, 25 December 2008 (UTC)

'corporate america'? I don't know that that segment of the population is more liable to psychpathology than any other; public interest in them does lead to more headlines, of course. 76.2.152.124 (talk) 19:24, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Well, surprise, I am getting a PhD in psychology and spent 2 yrs doing research on psychopaths. I know wikipedia is all about consensus and not expertise, so feel free to ignore everything I am saying. The terms are interchangeable outside of academia, but not among researchers. He's clearly a sociopath (or psychopath). Even TIME/CNN is calling him one: http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1870050,00.html?iid=tsmodule Angelatomato (talk) 12:55, 8 January 2009 (UTC)


There's no hard info on that yet. When the financial history of Madoff's fund is reconstructed by the trustee's auditors, we'll know more. If it turns out that the fund's returns were real for the first few years (quite possible in the 1990s), and then one year Madoff didn't make his numbers and started faking it, it's the "rogue trader" scenario, like Nick Leeson. If the fund was a Ponzi scheme from the beginning, that's a different story. Forensic accountants are working through the holidays to sort this out.[11]. We can't speculate on Wikipedia. --John Nagle (talk) 03:01, 25 December 2008 (UTC)
Maybe they're the same. The free dictionary states that "`psychopath' was once widely used but has now been superseded by `sociopath'". I researched and wrote an essay on psychopaths a couple of years ago. [12] Makes a lot of sense today, they're everywhere. JohnClarknew (talk) 09:13, 25 December 2008 (UTC)
There is a small distinction. I just pulled this from a paper written by someone at Harvard... and it cites literature from Hare who studied psychopaths for 30 yrs. I hope that is better than the free online dictionary: "Though the DSM does not recognize psychopathy as a formal personality disorder, it is not identical to antisocial personality disorder (APD) or sociopathy. Aspects of APD overlap descriptions of psychopathy and sociopathy. However, an APD diagnosis does not require evidence for personality traits such as lack of empathy, grandiosity, and shallow emotion that characterize psychopathy. The APD definition is focused on overt criminal behavior, and is therefore most similar to sociopathy. Sociopathy refers to attitudes and (frequently criminal) behaviors that are products of the harsh environment in which an individual was raised. A sociopath can feel guilt, though the emotion may not be very salient. Psychopaths are different from sociopaths and individuals with APD because psychopathy is specifically characterized by the lack of conscience and inability to feel empathy or guilt. Psychopathy can be diagnosed regardless of actual criminal behavior though aberrant behavior is often present. (Babiak and Hare, 2006). Despite various semantic separations, Hare (1985) found that 73% of APD patients also demonstrated psychopathy. " Angelatomato (talk) 13:06, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
Too speculative, and original research. Wait for the audit reports. There's a good chance that his early 10% returns were real; you could get that in the 1990s. If the reported results diverged from reality in the first down year, then we know something. --John Nagle (talk) 16:35, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

moved material to new article List of investors in Bernard L. Madoff Securities[edit]

There was a huge table in this article that I moved lock, stock, and barrel to the new article. It simply takes too much space here, and tends to be inaccurate (double counting), and sensationalist (Did you know the Dr Doom lost $x.x million?!); and there are at least 2 reliable sources listed with a similar table: The WSJ (footnote 100), the New York Times (under external links) and there used to be a Bloomberg table linked as well. I'll suggest that people who think that this is needed go and clean up the new list article, inserting references, etc.

The (lack of) a need to have such a table in this article was discussed extensively on this page about December 19 (some folks are almost a month late on this!) Smallbones (talk) 17:59, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

Maybe a more appropriate title is required, "list of investors in Bernard L. Madoff Securities" reads as if investors bought shares in Bernard L. Madoff Securities. Wapondaponda (talk) 21:53, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

I work at Rubenstein Communications, and UBP is a client of ours. There was a factual inaccuracy about UBP’s exposure, and it has been corrected both in the article and in the table. //Brycetom (talk) 15:52, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Stylistic complaint on footnote 59[edit]

decades. [59] Charitable

I have never seen a footnote alone on the next line. I am not an experienced user of wikipedia but I find it strange. There is no need to respond to this msg and I forgot how to sign my name - sorry in advance. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 66.234.33.7 (talk) 02:09, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

It's getting pretty sloppy[edit]

Yes the article does need a cleanup.

One paragraph that I took out of the "others involved " section is:

Harry Markopolos has singled out Meaghan Cheung, a branch head of the SEC's New York enforcement division at the time of the 2005 investigation and who quit the SEC September 2008, as the person responsible for the regulator's blunder

[5].

The article is pretty good and I want to save the reference! The statement is justified by the text - but it is buried inside, and I do think it is somewhat unfair as explained further down in the article. But mostly I removed it because "others involved" seems to refer to others involved in the fraud, not to somebody accused of regulating poorly. The quote and the later disclaimer/response by Cheung might very well belong in the article. Just nt in this section. Smallbones (talk) 15:15, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

Dickens on Madoff[edit]

This is a little off topic to put in the article, but useful for historical perspective. It's all been done before (though maybe not on quite this scale). From 'Little Dorrit':

"[The news of Financier Merdle's death and exposure] would fall like a thunderbolt upon the multitude he had deluded. Numbers of men in every profession and trade would be blighted by his insolvency; old people who had been in easy circumstances all their lives would have no place of repentance for their trust in him but the workhouse; legions of women and children would have their whole future desolated by the hand of this mighty scoundrel. Every partaker of his magnificent feasts would be seen to have been a sharer in the plunder of innumerable homes; every servile worshipper of riches who had helped to set him on his pedestal, would have done better to worship the Devil point-blank...

...For by that time it was known that the late Mr Merdle's complaint had been simply Forgery and Robbery. He, the uncouth object of such wide-spread adulation, the sitter at great men's feasts, the roc's egg of great ladies' assemblies, the subduer of exclusiveness, the leveller of pride, the patron of patrons, the bargain-driver with a Minister for Lordships of the Circumlocution Office, the recipient of more acknowledgment within some ten or fifteen years, at most, than had been bestowed in England upon all peaceful public benefactors, and upon all the leaders of all the Arts and Sciences, with all their works to testify for them, during two centuries at least--he, the shining wonder, the new constellation to be followed by the wise men bringing gifts... --was simply the greatest Forger and the greatest Thief that ever cheated the gallows."

Perhaps it could be added as a link? What a writer.

And what a crook. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.2.152.124 (talk) 23:34, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

An Aside on "investment" vs. "speculation"[edit]

Haven't paid attention to this thread¹ since starting it but good to see the process work. Saw Mort Zuckerman on the News Hour last night and he claimed to have never heard of Madoff before this broke only of the Ascot Fund and some charity he was associated with which had put everything in the fund, sounded odd¹. The thing is though, how is a Ponzi scheme different from "investing" in general? Somebody somewhere in the chain of money creation collects the profit extracted from unpaid labor and distributes it. If they keep it or distribute in ways that returns the extracted value OR loss back in a way that is somehow direct to higher levels of the value extraction food chain then that's OK. But if you mix the streams AND cause a big mess then suddenly people don't want your ethnicity discussed, don't know you, etc. Lycurgus (talk) 06:01, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
¹I believe he actually said 'I never heard of him until ...'.

Lycurgus, "investment" is different from "speculation" (see Benjamin Graham's The Intelligent Investor), and they are both different from "securities fraud." In this case, the fraud was a "Ponzi scheme." A Ponzi scheme distributes profits to old investors from the principle investment of new investors. In reality, though, there are no profits at all. The profits are coming from the new money the manager brings into the fund. (There need not be any investment at all.) But, in regular investment, your profit comes from the difference between what you initially paid for a stock and what you ultimately sell it for. The profits actually come from a valid source, that is the rise in market value of a particular stock on the day you decide to sell. And that rise is based on company performance (and investor psychology). The problem with the Ponzi scheme is that if you don't keep getting new investors' money to pay profits to the older investors, the scheme will collapses like house of cards and the last investor(s) to join will get burned. ask123 (talk) 18:21, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
Also, Lycurgus, no one's trying to supress details on Madoff's ethnicity. It's just a matter of relevancy. In the case of this subject, religion is only relevant in a biographical context. As far as Madoff's victims are concerned, some were Jewish. Some were Christian. Some were Muslim. Some were Hindi. Etc., etc., etc. If you find some other significance for Madoff's religion, please let us know. But, as of now, there is none other. ask123 (talk) 18:23, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
Yes, of course I'm aware of this. My point is that the distribution of "profit" and the entire Price System are arbitrary and there is little inherent difference in the "corrupt" distribution of "profit" relative to that which is considered "legitimate". In "reality" the concept of "profit" generally confounds the extraction of surplus value with "productivity", i.e. the production of socially useful goods and services. The distribution of any part of the value of applied labor-power to any besides those persons supplying it is inherently unjust in my view so in this sense the difference between the operation of a Ponzi scheme and an investment service which maintains the integrity of the chain from primary investor to application of the capital to some production process and the flow of extracted profit back to said investors is, at the level of that matter of principle of the producers of said value having the right to all of it, negligible. Lycurgus (talk) 05:19, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
As for the issue that caused me to create this thread², it is largely irrelevant/unimportant by comparision with these fundamental issues except for the glaring attempt to suppress info and the contradiction relative to clear usage elsewhere in wiki. Lycurgus (talk) 05:28, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
Ah, I wasn't sure if you were being sarcastic. As for you other point, I think it's a bit naive. Almost all of the amenities you enjoy are here as a result of the evolution of the economy. When I say evolution, I don't mean evolution into publicly traded markets. That's even further advanced than I'm thinking. Even just a basic, rather rudimentary economy -- but one that has evolved beyond the single, individual laborer -- defies your Utopian vision. How about someone who thinks of an idea for a product and then has others with expertise assemble it? If the guy with the idea gets paid for that, is that "unjust," as you put it? Many people in a company besides laborers will get paid because it takes more than just labor to make something and to sustain production over a long period of time. Moreover, many of the products today are so complex that it's actually impossible for laborers to do it alone.
And, as far as the equities markets are concerned, they serve an important purpose in and of themselves: raising money for the businesses that are traded. As I'm sure you know, when a company goes public, it sells shares to the public. The proceeds from those sales help finance the future endeavors of the company. It's a way of financing the company's vision (just as issuing bonds are) and is the main reason a company will need to issue shares or go public at all. This form of financing is a lynchpin for many (if not most) of the products you use and enjoy today. Without it, many of these business would lose viability. As far as public shareholders go, they help finance the company's vision in exchange for a piece of ownership. And when you're an owner, you're entitled to a portion of the profits via dividends and have the opportunity to make money selling your shares if they appreciate in price. They don't get to become owners gratis remember. And owners also have the possibility of loosing money through depreciation in price. So, in that way, the equities markets serve an important purpose, one very different from an actual deception. One other major difference: when you buy stock, you are entitled to the "full and fair disclosure" of the company's dealings. Madoff forged all of that -- he provided no full and fair disclosure since he lied about everything. ask123 (talk) 21:56, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
By "producers of said value" I meant all those involved in production. The fair division of proceeds from the group product is a (mere) technical problem. An "investor" who supplies nothing but capital is not a member of this set but obviously everyone with some role in actual production, including the person whose original idea some project was, are. Lycurgus (talk) 22:27, 18 December 2008 (UTC)
The point being, both the idealized abstraction 'said value' (i.e the work product of an arbitrary group of workers), state and other 'real' forms of the money commodity, and money forms offered by a Madoff are themselves nothing, at most paper or a precious metal. The real thing(s) underlying and commanding all are the actual instances of applied labor power. It is merely the imprimatur of a social order that separates the "fictitious capital" of a Madoff sold as shares in his investment service or stipulates his accounting as improper and that of the other agencies not deriving their legitimacy by explicit transfer of all the value from its natural owners, i.e. those that produced it. Lycurgus (talk) 21:50, 25 December 2008 (UTC)
This digression into Marxist economic theory is somewhat off topic. --John Nagle (talk) 23:03, 25 December 2008 (UTC)
Technically, or at least in my case, acceptance of the Labour Theory of Value doesn't necessarily imply an acceptance of Marxist economic theory, even if the latter is defined by the former. I do accept the former but I don't even consider the latter to actually be an economic theory². The relevance to the article, while not direct (which is why it's here in the background), is obvious. 72.228.150.44 (talk) 23:12, 25 December 2008 (UTC)
Also, I don't want it to go unremarked that I have observed the display above in language of the confusion that exists in the mind of the typical American about such terms as "labour" or "working class", let alone comparatively esoteric matters such as founding principles of economics. 72.228.150.44 (talk) 23:37, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
And BTW, apparently the SEC couldn't see much difference over the 15 or 16 years where they rejected fraud allegations. 72.228.150.44 (talk) 00:24, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

¹ "jewishness not notable?" originally "religion not notable?", the first thread created in the discussion page for this article (currently in Archive 2 Lycurgus (talk) 19:37, 15 January 2009 (UTC)).
² Which is why it's called "Marxian political economy", it's mostly politics relatively little mathematics/economics. To be distinguished from, e.g. Modern Analysis of Value Theory (Y. Fujumori 1982)

Don't fret, everybody, Marxists and other promoters of the old labour theory of value come out of the woodwork during every big financial fraud. "The supposed 'fraud' pales in comparison with the institutionalized fraud which is the extraction of surplus value from the workers blah blah blah"[paraphrasing a little]. Discussion of this theory and it's refutation by the Jevons/Walras/Menger marginal utility theory of value belongs on those pages.

For Madoff's Jewishness, the article now notes that he sought out Jewish victims, exclusively, calling it a form of 'affinity fraud'. If true, it would be relevant to the article, but is there any documentation that he was, in fact, doing this? The person above, who said that Madoff targeted everybody, Christians, Hindus, etc. did not give a source for his assertion either. So, what are the facts?

Perhaps there should also be a passing mention of the fact that Jews are specifically prohibited by the Decalogue from stealing, bearing false witness or coveting their neighbours goods, and that Madoff is an atypical backslider. Ah well, we humans have 'em. 76.2.152.124 (talk) 19:47, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Unless I'm mistaken Jews were also prohibited from usury and Jewish tradition has/had several rules about the expiry of debts between Jews. However the Jewish issue is a diversion. Marginal utility (as a fundamental theory of value (economics), not as a device of mathematical economics) is bourgeois apologetics (and conventional wisdom) which tired right wingers inevitably claim to be a universal law of nature once the labour theory is mentioned. It's like their claim of "human nature" as the (inevitable) source of a number of persistent pernicious conditions. Defense of the status quo, conventional wisdom, reigning paradigm, etc. with a tendency to move actually to the status quo ante and earlier paradigms is what defines them as right wing. 72.228.150.44 (talk) 13:57, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

Truth is inevitable; if it seems 'tired' that is because it is obliged to stick to possibilities and always comes up with the same answers to the same questions. And attempting to re-interest people in the exploded labor theory of value is a return to the status quo ante, if you like, so are we to define you as 'right wing'? But this all belongs on the econ pages. Remember to not try and inject it into this article. 76.2.152.124 (talk) 19:52, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

Rabbi wants Madoff excommunicated for bringing shame on Jewish people[edit]

A quick search in Google will show that “Madoff” and “Jewish” brings about 295,000 web links already. This is certainly an interesting fact given that it has only been a short time ago that he was placed under house arrest. I think the comments about Madoff's Jewishness being just a tiny fact and nothing relevant to this article is somewhat naive, given the fact that the JTA website has just published an open letter today by Rabbi Joshua Hammerman (religious leader of Temple Beth El in Stamford) to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations calling for Madoff to be excommunicated from the Judaic faith here:

[Rabbi: Kick Madoff out of the the Jewish people] [13]

The article goes on to say, and I would have to agree, that the most effective way to address it is through a clear repudiation not only of Madoff himself, but of the anti-Judaic nature of his acts. Covering something up or downplaying it does nothing but fuels the fire of "jewish conspiracy theories". The Truth is always perfect even when ugly. If you try to always paint a rosy picture of yourself or one's country or tribe it comes off as completely inauthentic. Is not modesty the foundation of all virtue? Like everything else in this World there are good apples and bad apples, but this does not detract from the fact, that whether they are good or bad they are still apples.

The information about Rabbi Hammerman writing the letter asking for Madoff to be excommunicated and "cut off" from the Judaic faith is relevant and should be included in this article for the simple fact it is addressed to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. A serious issue! Anyone else agree?

Mindeagle (talk) 02:10, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

Too soon. So far, it's just one person's opinion. If actual movement in that direction starts, it's worth a mention. --John Nagle (talk) 04:06, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
I do not agree with Nagle. Mindeagle is correct, this is the opinion of a Rabbi and it is clearly a position that has resonance within the Jewish community. All communities harbor scoundrels, and trying to hide the warts only exaggerates them in the minds of haters. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.247.61.155 (talk) 09:54, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
Other than the original publication of Hammerman's letter, this hasn't yet been picked up by other media or organizations. So it's not something that's really happening yet. Madoff has been kicked off the board of Yeshiva University; that's real. The Palm Beach Country Club hasn't been heard from yet. --John Nagle (talk) 16:56, 27 December 2008 (UTC)
Hi Nagle, thanks for the comments and your updates regarding what Madoff has been "cut off" from so far. You might be right about it being too soon to mention the excommunication issue, I don't want to jump the gun yet, though I thought it was a fairly serious issue when religious leaders are involved. However, one can hardly deny the outrage coming from Jewish groups, because he stole from his own people. There should be something here about the World Jewish community's reaction to the allegations made against Madoff, because it is simply too big to ignore. The outrage from concerned Jewish groups is very real, as is their concern that Madoff's behaviour will lead to futher hatred towards Jewish people. Try doing a search in Google for "madoff jewish" and look at the hundreds of thousands of websites and blogs from Jewish perspectives talking about Madoff and just how much of a Jew he is. These are unashamedly Jewish interest websites that play up his Jewishness, not some loony hate-group trying to create a negative image. The very first two links are to the Jewish Journal with headlines like:
Is Bernie Madoff Jewish? Very. Oy. | U.S. | Jewish Journal' [14]
Madoff: Jewish, yes, but Orthodox too?' [15]
Madoff: Jewish fury as a community reviles a cultural betrayal ...' [16]
Now this is an issue that is not going to go away on its own accord. Some people here have commented that they think there is some sort of double standard and censoring going on in Wikipedia to deny Madoff's Jewish ethnicity and ancestry. Whilst this can be construed as an opinion, the facts do seem to suggest it as a possibility as most articles on people in Wikipedia mention Jewish ethnicity usually in the first sentence. Sometimes these articles even note a Jewish grandparent (even on the paternal line) in the first paragraph, as if this Jewishness was crucial or the most important thing about the person that made them everything of what they are. Yet, in this article his ethnicity (orthodox Jew) takes a back seat to everything else. That is you would have no idea he is Jewish without looking in the info box. I also noticed that somebody has edited out the bit about him being born into a Jewish family in the last 24 hours. Surely, this is a pure case of biased reporting in my mind and shows some sort of censoring is indeed going on, as numerous other's here in this talk section have raised as a major concern. I abhor ideologies of hatred of every description and creed, but if there is one thing that riles me up and I truly take issue with and make a stand on, is the suppression of the Truth. I could be of the mark here, but my intuition tells me it is politically motivated and not in the interests of Wikipedia NPOV or humanity as a whole. To a certain extent, I can understand political lobbying organisations like the ADL & AIPEC being concerned that such facts may breed resentment and hatred in someone looking for someone or group to blame, but in this case I think it goes against what Wikipedia is all about. As far as I know Wikipedia is not a PR tool for political agendas or generating public opinion. Anyone else agree?
Madoff has been condemned by hundreds of Jewish groups who denounced his behaviour as the very anti-thesis of what it means to be a Jew, namely the importance and emphasis on ethics and values (just remember that the World's most famous Jew was also the World's greatest ethical teacher). The fact that all these Jewish groups are going ballistic over his actions shows that it is indeed an isolated case of a grossly deceptive and wicked act from a Jewish person in the public eye. The thing is he must have been very convincing to all he stole from, and it is a shame, because he looks like a nice guy with a warm smile and portly belly, the sort of guy you could have a laugh with and trust.
It is not my style to change the article or make additions to it, until there is a consensus from other editors and in the interests of Wikipedia's NPOV some of this consensus must come from other editors who identify themselves as Jewish. Only in that way will we get a nice balanced article that has no political sentiments running through it...just the facts and no opinion. As you can no doubt tell, I am not Jewish (actually Scottish) and will listen to anyone who does not have a political agenda in mind, to keep this article honest. One of the values of my culture is that the ugly facts of life should never be covered up or swept under the table, you must present life as it is in its entirety, warts and all, regardless of whether it is pretty or not. Those who share a similar vision of responsibility towards honesty, please speak up? No this is not an open invitation for all the Anti-semites and racists to crawl out from under their rocks in a show of support. Let's just keep to the facts. I'll be back in the next 12 hours before I make my changes, however, some consensus beforehand would be in the interests of all the editors to this article.
-- Mindeagle (talk) 23:49, 27 December 2008 (UTC)


I think the Jewish aspect is handled appropriately in the article. I don't think the "excommunication" bit belongs, unless it gets traction. JohnnyB256 (talk) 00:58, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

I strongly disagree. Madoff's identity is being swept under the carpet in order to serve the ADL's political agenda -- and this is PR and advocacy pure and simple. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.247.61.155 (talk) 10:40, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
Seems prominently mentioned to me. What do you want to add? JohnnyB256 (talk) 13:28, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
His use of affinity fraud as a section. Failure to being this up is dishonest at best. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.247.61.155 (talk) 13:50, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
His preying on the Jewish community is dealt with somewhat amply in "sales methods." Since he did not exclusively prey on Jews, I don't think that "affinity fraud" is precisely what he engaged in. JohnnyB256 (talk) 14:00, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
No, that section is not set up to focus on the affinity aspect. Please respect my intelligence and begin genuinely assuming goodwill instead of blackballing any and all who want the communal aspects of this affair highlighted as haters. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.247.61.155 (talk) 16:07, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
I think you're confusing me with some other person. I haven't even participated in this discussion that much, and have not therefore "blackballed" anyone to the best of my recollection. JohnnyB256 (talk) 16:21, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
Yes, the Jewish aspect is handled appropriately now. It has "miraculously" appeared in the article again in the last 24 hours. Glad to see somebody's conscience got the better of them and is at least trying to be honest and open. After much consideration and putting the shoe on the other foot, I see it is a bit politically sensitive at this time to mention the affinity. But you got to wonder, does Madoff have an army of scribers working for him, and if so, just how much of a kickback from the missing 50 billion are they getting? Reminds me of the essence of Leonard Cohen's song "Everybody Knows" - the dice was loaded, the ship's captain lied, the rich get richer, the poor stay poor, that's the way it goes...and everybody knows. Talk about the frustration of political impotence. Peace! -- Mindeagle (talk) 01:27, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
Sure, it definitely belongs in the article, and it is there. I don't see what this IP's complaint is. If it wasn't there at all I could see the issue. Right now, it is mentioned. --JohnnyB256 (talk) 19:16, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
Uhh... Why should it be mentioned? Who is this Rabbi and why is he notable? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 173.52.174.129 (talk) 05:44, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
The Rabbi himself is not that notable, however, the letter and who it is addressed to is. An open letter to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. However there has been little uptake by the media regarding the reaction or reply to the letter. For this reason, we can safely assume that it does not represent the views of these organisations and is therefore not as "newsworthy" for Wikipedia as I first assumed when the story broke. By the way you should sign your posts, and be prepared to put your name behind what you say, so that you come of as credible, rather than an anonymous lurker with an agenda. -- Mindeagle (talk) 09:34, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Only a Reform Rabbi would make such a request. In the very fundamentals of the Jewish Faith and its inherent values, you can't disown a Jew even if they disown the religion. As the saying goes, once a Jew, always a Jew.
Sure what he did was terrible, but to start including one extremist's out-of-line desires would be tantamount to blasphemy and as stated in the Wikipedia guidelines to biographies of living people and at the top of this talk page, any such material has no place in an article, nevermind it being POV and perhaps even original research. -Alan 24.184.184.130 (talk) 16:42, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

I guess the excommunication is relevant. Does anyone know if this is common for Jewish fraudsters? For example, did Andrew Fastow (CFO of Enron) and Marc Rich get excommunicated?Ndriley97 (talk) 00:09, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

Fairfield Greenwich Group and Cohmad[edit]

This company is heavily involved and requires its own page for more depth and clarification. The "Walter Noel" page is someone else. Actually ALL the feeder funds require their own page. The we can link to each. Will someone get it started as I don't want to mess up the format?

thanx. Furtive admirer (talk) 19:17, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

New pages should be created for Cohmad and Fairfield. Ruth Madoff was named in a Commonwealth of Massachusetts complaint.[6] It will reduce the size of the page. I do not know how to start... any volunteers? Furtive admirer (talk) 16:59, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

Rewritten? / Cleanup[edit]

Seems many parts of this article have been rewritten as of recent. Overall it appears a bit messy and unsuitable for an encyclopedia article. Many other tidbits irrelevant to the case this article covers (Benjamin Button??) seem to be placed throughout this article where they likely don't belong. I'm gonna go ahead and tag for cleanup. If you disagree, let be known here. Mikco (talk) 01:08, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

I agree, I think it may be necessary to separate the biography from the scandal. The article is getting quite large, and the technical information is making it a difficult read. Wapondaponda (talk) 06:41, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
Just a(t) first glance: could not the section Methods... (including the warnings beforehand) become a separate article? Thus like 1. Bm and B. BM operations? Reducing the intro could help too. -DePiep (talk) 00:42, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
I couldn't even finish reading the article, it's that poorly written at times. I think it needs a Copy-Edit flag rather than just cleanup. It seems to have been written by at least two different people: One who seems to have some idea what they're doing and one who looks like they easily could have failed ninth-grade English class and can't even wikify well. Were there less cleaning up to do, I might pitch in; I'm good at this sort of thing. But, given the size of the article and the amount of work that needs to be done, I'm completely overwhelmed and don't know where to start or finish.

-Alan 24.184.184.130 (talk) 16:57, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

New pages and links to those will help tighten the article (Cohmad, Fairfield Greenwich Group, Walter Noel, split strike, etc.) Anyone want to start? Furtive admirer (talk) 18:28, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Splitting article: Personal and Business[edit]

Will someone split the article as suggested on the template? His personal affairs can be the bio including career history, Psych Issues and Philanthopy with links to legal charges on business page: Bernard Madoff split to Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securites, LLC Presently, the link reverts to the original page. thanx.

Furtive admirer (talk) 03:50, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

The business has a separate page now. click link: Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securites, LLC to continue moving info. Do not delete anything on original page until all business info has been moved. thanx.

Furtive admirer (talk) 05:19, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

Madoff isn't any different than Wall Street[edit]

Madoff's ponzi scheme used money from new investors to pay earlier investors. Ok, so how is this different from a pension fund? How is this different from Wall Street? In Madoff's system of cashflow, there was input and output, growth, etc. Within his closed and controlled system, the concepts of profit and loss become less rigid and subject to interpretation. Ultimately, in larger economies, since profit for one represents loss for another, there isn't necessarily a "system wide profit", and the overall net effect is zero sum.

Of course, when goods and services being created, generating income profit, it is still just moving money back and forth. New bills aren't created for every transaction, it just changes hands. As such, it's just one guy paying another and feeling happy about it. Trading stocks is largely just moving money from one person to another without any gain or loss in total goods. Therefore, Wall Street is also a ponzi scheme but on a much larger scale, making it look like an open market, but as a whole, it is a closed system, no different from Madoff's scheme.

Madoff was a smart guy. I'm not defending his behavior, but any indictment in Madoff's case should reflect on the stock market at large. Money for nothing in any economy has to work this way, pooling cash from many, concentrating wealth in a few, keeping alot of people happy with small returns, and making people believe that their losses are just bad luck. Aren't we all suckers.

Joe Hanink (talk) 21:54, 21 February 2009 (UTC)

Precisely. In the beginning, people make, grow, find, and do stuff and exchange same. Because of the pragmatics of effecting equivalent value in the exchange embodied in different makings and findings, money arises with the first commodity. The real thing underlying the symbolic form of value never ceases to be the makings and findings but a whole world with many distinct social orders arises all to perpetuate various stupefactions about this fundamental fact, i.e. that there is no such thing as "making money" other than in the sucker sense above, there is only the makings and findings, and the assignment of money valuations by those with the means to do so. The provision of goods and services, the real value symbolically represented in money, is totally obscured by a massive ideology that operates by overloading terms like "economy" and "making money" with assumptions and implications meant to obscure¹ the fundamental fact of what money is. Cases such as Madoff, Stanford whatsits, Enron, etc., etc. simply bring this somewhat into focus for those at some stage of readiness of understanding it.
¹And dismissed with simple rubrics such as "Wall Street vs. Main Street" and "the real economy" vs. ...? Lycurgus (talk) 15:40, 22 February 2009 (UTC)

50B vs. actual size of the fraud.[edit]

This (the 50B figure) was held to be settled but is now widely known to have be an exaggeration based on the subjects including alleged profit and/or not actually knowing. The current apparent situation is that roughly a billion dollars worth of assets have been seized as against 10-20 billion in investors capital. Also a plea bargain is apparently immanent. Lycurgus (talk) 11:05, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

Frank DiPascali[edit]

I started Frank DiPascali. It's not pretty at the moment. Seeing that you folks are up to speed with the Madoff matter, I thought you might be able to help expand it. Cheers!--Anna Frodesiak (talk) 00:06, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

Usual pervasive Double standard on guilt[edit]

Wikipedia states that Osama is guilty of 9/11 based on media reports of "confession" tapes of unknown provenance, with no proper authentication of voice, images or translation. There is a much stronger case to state Bernie's guilt, but he gets an "alleged". Fourtildas (talk) 04:27, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

Simple, actually. Bin laden has been indicted by multiple grand juries. Madoff has yet to be indicted; once Madoff is indicted and convicted under the law, then we can remove the alleged. If you have a problem with US law, please bring it it up with the judicial system, not wikipedia. -- Avi (talk) 22:52, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
He pleaded guilty today, the alleged should be removed. -- Avi (talk) 17:44, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Taken to prison[edit]

The news are that he is being taken to prison right now. He is being taken out through a tunnel. Can I get a confirmation on that please?..thanks --Camilo Sanchez (talk) 15:33, 12 March 2009 (UTC) Smallbones (talk) 19:51, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

Need a new article[edit]

It seems to me that much of the information in this BLP should be moved to a new article along the lines of Madoff Investment Scandal. The inclusion of the information, including others possibly involved, really doesn't belong in a BLP. What is the best way to accomplish? Shpould we change the name of this BLP (given all the information already in here) and then write a new BLP, or copy and paste this information to the new article? Newguy34 (talk) 17:07, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

So, I was bold and started the new article. I will continue to refine that article (to focus on the crime and not Madoff's BLP) and refine this BLP (to include only biographical information). You can help, and please do so. Newguy34 (talk) 17:39, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Protection[edit]

I think since this is currently an on-going event, this biographical article should be protected, at least semi-protected. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.193.143.44 (talk) 21:11, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Bernie Madoff has been ongoing for quite some time. You might be thinking of our Madoff investment scandal article? -- Kendrick7talk 21:15, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Infobox - Occupation[edit]

A wee adjustment may be in order here. --Anna Frodesiak (talk) 21:34, 12 March 2009 (UTC)Yes check.svg Done

Picture[edit]

I have not edited this article yet. Just kind of stopping by. But I was wondering what's the deal with the bizarre picture? Was something better not available? Or what's the reason? JBFrenchhorn (talk) 10:30, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

I think that is from a properly licensed flicker photo, heroically enhanced, etc. The problem is that there are no public domain, or free licensed photos, only news photos. If you know of a better one and can document its license please upload it! Smallbones (talk) 19:26, 7 February 2009 (UTC)


here is a cleaner picture for to post. http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gENi7j7jpsHXAQTcW2cvVaTKgUYw

i uploaded it here but i don't know what to do next. if it can't be used then just revert this page. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bernard_Madoff.jpg i really need some assistance in posting a photo. kindly give me posting instructions for the future on my "talk" page as to what you did to post it on this article main page. thanx.

Furtive admirer (talk) 16:05, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

I do not know of any situation under which that copyrighted image can be used on Wikipedia. Even if the copyright holder gives permission, I don't think we can use it because all Wikipedia content is licensed for redistribution, and any permission to use only on Wikipedia could not be honored.  Frank  |  talk  17:04, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
Fair Use is allowed under some circumstances, of which I'm not clear. I've asked for a review at Wikipedia:Non-free_content_review#File:Bernard_Madoff.jpg. Anybody who knows what they are talking about is invited to contribute (Actually in classic Wikipedia tradition, even those who don't know what they are talking about are invited to contribute, but please keep it short!) Smallbones (talk) 17:46, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

I've removed the image. In cases like this, it's far better to have no image than a truly awful one. If a better image can be found in the future, that's great. But there's no requirement that we include a picture and the one that was on this article was abhorrent.

If you disagree with the removal, please discuss below before reverting. Cheers. --MZMcBride (talk) 08:18, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

No mugshot? I can't find one anywhere. Does one exist? I imagine that if a kid from the Bronx stole 50 billion dollars he would have a mugshot. If one exists, it would be Federal, and thus public domain. Any thoughts on where to find one?--Anna Frodesiak (talk) 01:42, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
Still no mugshot????? What gives?--Anna Frodesiak (talk) 11:01, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

Guilty plea expected this Thursday[edit]

Numerous articles are stating he likely pleaded guily without a deal in order to escape testifying against others. Perhaps some wording needs revising to reflect this likelyhood. Current wording sounds like he just pleaded guilty out of being nice about things. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.122.238.208 (talk) 13:29, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

Could we get a major effort to clean up this article by Thursday, when Madoff is expected to plead guilty?

A lot of peoples will be reading it then. Thanks for any help. Smallbones (talk) 16:17, 7 March 2009 (UTC)

Jewish[edit]

Why the hell does people keep changing "Jewish-American" to "American". The guy was jewish, defined himself as jewish american, was honored in Israel, have been chairman for various jewish organizations and made no secret of that he was jewish. Change American to Jewish-American. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 85.225.226.79 (talk) 13:16, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

Presumably because, per WP:NAMES, "Ethnicity should generally not be emphasized in the opening unless it is relevant to the subject's notability." Running a Ponzi scheme has nothing to do with being Jewish. Cosmic Latte (talk) 15:25, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
Much of his success as a con man derived from being Jewish. His connections in the Jewish community, where he was trusted, brought in investment money without too many questions being asked. Especially at the Palm Beach Country Club, the "exclusive Jewish country club" in Florida.[17]. (They're so exclusive their home page requires a password.)[18] That was really the key to this scam - that he was well known and trusted in the Jewish community. Also see J. Ezra Merkin, who was in charge of the richest synagogue in America and ran one of Madoff's "feeder funds". --John Nagle (talk) 17:03, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
I think you need to mention that he's Jewish because it played into his scam. But that should be done in the text, where required, and doesn't need to be placed in the infobox. --JohnnyB256 (talk) 21:00, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
His ethnic identity is relevant to his notability since a disproportionate number of his victims are Jews who were recruited through the Jewish community. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.218.220.25 (talk) 15:11, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

The fact that he was jewish does indeed matter since his ethnicity, religion and connections to other legitime jewish organizations and institutions were the main thing that gained him trust among people. He alone funded lots of Israeli projects not to mention being the biggest contributor of the Jewish-American Congress. The image he had (and still have) is Jewish-American businessman —Preceding unsigned comment added by 85.225.225.229 (talk) 22:26, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

The information is relevant in the text but his ethnicity is not a defining characteristic of the man, as it is not for nearly every biographical article on Wikipedia. We don't identify Charles Ponzi as an "Italian American" just because it was so...but we do identify the fact that he immigrated from Italy as appropriate in the article. Same should apply here. Ponzi is only one example; many others apply.  Frank  |  talk  20:28, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

Psychiatric intent theory[edit]

I've removed this section for a second time - it just seems irrelevant to me. Several psychiatrists - who have never met Madoff - speculate on his psychological condition. Why should we care about this?

Hopefully this will not be re-introduced without at least some discussion, and at least somebody who agrees with you. Could you at least explain why the opinion of strangers - even trained strangers - is of any relevance or importance? If I wanted to quote chapter and verse on wikipedia policies, I might throw something in here about WP:FRINGE, WP:RS or WP:BLP, but I don't think we need to get technical or picky here at all. Just say why this is at all believable or relevant.

The sources all look fairly shakey or even self-promotional, except for the following from the BBC, and Michael Welner at least has some fame/notariety in the area. I might consider including this based on the BBC quoting him - but only if I could figure out the relevance of a stranger saying this.

"He knew what he was doing was wrong, but he was making people happy, so he never had to deal emotionally with the idea he was hurting anyone." says forensic psychiatrist Dr. Michael Welner. Welner believes Madoff was able to continue the ruse because he was detached from both the transaction and the consequences. He describes Madoff's behavior as "organized crime" which requires a "master mind."[19]

The rest of the material that was included in this section strikes me as complete garbola, and I'd never be happy including it. But let others put in their opinions here.

Smallbones (talk) 12:13, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

ok. let's compromise, for now. let's see what happens at the court appearance on 3/11/09 and the professional feedback then. whether these quotes are used, a psychiatric section is essential because it goes to his criminal intent (mens rea) and the mitigation of the sentence to be imposed. just save it so it doesn't get lost in the history. it took me a few hours to gather the quotes, all from certified professionals. there were many other "garbola" I didn't use for self-promotional reasons. i identified these as celebrated for credibility purposes (if they had published or had advance degrees and proper credentials). we may never find an exact psychiatric diagnosis because of his lack of admissions, which is why it is pertinent to include the possible psychological motivations for closure. a single quote is not enough for a section and has no other placement.

Furtive admirer (talk) 03:44, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

Stewaj7 (talk) 21:36, 17 March 2009 (UTC)J-Stew 17 March 2009

Consider for a moment what Americans continue to ask themselves..."How could somebody do this?" "What was he thinking?" "What type of person could have committed these crimes?" Sure it is difficult for somebody to speak to the cognitive, emotional and personality characteristics of Madoff himself without examining him; however, the field of psychiatry and psychology revolved around the study of behavior. At a time when these questions are at the forefront of American’s discussion, answers from respected and regard experts should be available to them. That is why the section should be included. Now with respect to Dr. Welner’s comment. This guy has established his credibility in the media, in the courtroom and in academia. His input into these matters has been valued by ABC, CNN, BBC and so many others because of his experience and insights. What better source could you ask for?

The lead[edit]

The lead discusses the current scandal only; shouldn't it be kinda a more general introduction to the article? Tomasz W. Kozłowski (talk) 12:39, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

Yes, it was. Most of that information belonged in the article itself, not the lead. I moved it. Since the Madoff case has its own article, most of it was superfluous, so that section still needs to be cleaned up.Startstop123 (talk) 17:35, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

The lede[edit]

I will change the lede, because the following is untrue:

Bernard Lawrence "Bernie" Madoff (IPA: /ˈmeɪdɒf/) (born April 29, 1938, in New York City) ... confessed to operating the largest investor fraud ever committed by a single person.[2]

The reference is to his allocution, in which he does NOT say anything like "I operated the largest fraud ever committed by a single person." (Just give the page number if you think I'm wrong). Even if he had said that, there would be 2 problems: 1) Was the fraud actually operated by a SINGLE PERSON? and 2) How could Madoff reasonably know that this was the largest?

The problem comes about because many other people have said that this is the largest fraud operated, and that Madoff has confessed to a fraud. Nevertheless this is not the same as saying that he confessed to the largest fraud ever committed by a single person. Minor point, perhaps, but we should be accurate, especially in the lede. Smallbones (talk) 13:12, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

No, I agree. It's not a minor point. I'm just starting to do a lot of reading on this subject and the issue of him doing this singularly is very much up in the air. I did see on the NBC news the other night that his accountant was arrested for "rubber stamping" all of Madoff's numbers without double checking them. That in itself implies that someone else was involved, even if through negligence. I'm not ready to edit the article proper too much because like I said, there's a lot of material to read through. I just find these Ponzi schemes so fascinating.Startstop123 (talk) 13:46, 20 March 2009 (UTC)
There is no problem if he said that as long as this article makes clear he is the one saying he that. Just needs a minor reword. The issue of coconspirators should also be addressed. ChildofMidnight (talk) 16:34, 20 March 2009 (UTC)
I'm not even sure it's the biggest fraud. WorldCom and Enron were bigger. Also, Madoff probably didn't do it alone; others had to be in on it just to fake all the transactions. His accountant was arrested yesterday.[20] --John Nagle (talk) 05:34, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

It's far too long, far too detailed. See WP:LEDE. --Ronz (talk) 16:09, 24 March 2009 (UTC)

Occupation[edit]

Shouldn't the opening list him as "an American criminal and former businessman." Since his conviction Madoff cannot be described as a businessman. Indeed, since he began running the ponzi scheme he cannot be described as primarily being a businessman since his major occupational actitivty involved a criminal enterprise. Furthermore, Madoff is notable mainly for his criminal, as opposed to legitimate business, activities. Wikipedia entries of other notable criminals list their primary occupation as such, so should Madoff's. The fact that his crimes were white collar should in no way change the fact that he is, primarily, a criminal. he will be watching porn day and night. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.218.220.25 (talk) 15:14, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

I fully agree with you. Bernard Madoff did not even have a Wikipedia article until his arrest on December 11, 2008. Eugeniu B (talk) 03:03, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

Reference Reform[edit]

I've started culling the references on this page. There were 102, are now 90, and I'm aiming for 50. The reason for culling the references is that they are now only confusing things rather than informing readers of the source of the information. I doubt that there is an article of similar size where there are more than 50 references. Many references do not refer to the material cited, and there are multiple references per sentence which are being used for stretching facts for OR.

I am also trying to properly format the references. Please do not add any unformated references to this article.

In the effort toward simplification, I'll also be removing complicated sentences, OR, etc.

Smallbones (talk) 11:55, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

Good idea -- but might you use smaller bites when it comes to the text? I would love to see the article lose 10K or so for sure, but a lot is intertwined here as a result of earlier discussions. And I can assure you there are many super over referenced articles out there .. while one or two good ones are worth a dozen others, some will cite the dozen. Collect (talk) 12:04, 28 March 2009 (UTC)
Down to 81 refs. Please give me some room on this. You don't realize how bad the refs are until you actually try to track one down. Please pick one at random. Read the article (if it exists). Does it give you the information that's in the article? I put the probability at about 30%. It needs to be done pretty much all at once. Until we have some confidence in the refs, they are worth less than nothing. After the material was added back from my first RReform, there were still 102 refs and only about 4 words were removed - that is not progress! Smallbones (talk) 13:00, 28 March 2009 (UTC)
Down to 74 references (most properly formatted) - and I don't think that anybody can mention one taken out that was actually needed. Also 9 KB have been removed with almost no content removed (some is reshuffled, some needed to be removed). After editing and cleaning up the Scandal section (tomorrow?), I'll pull off the BLP tag. Smallbones (talk) 14:39, 28 March 2009 (UTC)
Down to 64 references, and I'm done. I've removed 40% of the references which just got in the way, and din't clarify anything. Please do not add any unformated references to this article. Smallbones (talk) 19:35, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
Is there a shortcut or some kind of "moron's guide" to citing that you know of? I've looked through what appear to be the wiki pages that seem relevant but I seem to be missing something. JohnnyB256 (talk) 20:21, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for doing that cleanup. I did some reference cleanup over at Madoff investment scandal, but after cleaning up through reference 69, I just couldn't face the remaining 170 refs. --John Nagle (talk) 18:51, 30 March 2009 (UTC)

I'll probably get over there sooner or, most probably, later. I do apologize if there was too much of a meat-axe approach in the editing, but I view it something like cleaning out a garage: there's an arguement for keeping almost everything, but if you want to clean up some things just have to go. As far as a manual for formatting, I haven't seen one but a long while ago I copied the following from some editor's page, and it seems to work well. Smallbones (talk) 07:06, 31 March 2009 (UTC)

<ref name="">{{cite news 
  | last =
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  | pages =
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<ref name="">{{cite journal
  | last =
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  | volume =
  | issue =
  | pages =
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  | doi =
  | id =
  | accessdate =  }}</ref>


<ref name="">{{cite web
  | last =
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  | title =
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<ref name="">{{cite book
  | last =
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<ref name="">{{cite video
  | people =
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  | location =
  | date =  }}</ref>


Thanks. It looks like most of the references I've seen on Wiki, and all the ones I've inserted, have been improperly formatted.--JohnnyB256 (talk) 13:51, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
I found a page of web tools that do the work automatically! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Citation_tools How about that. --JohnnyB256 (talk) 13:58, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

Funny math[edit]

They said he may owe investors $65 billion, and that he would therefore be fined $170, based on twice the amount of $65 billion. However, 2 × $65 billion is $130 billion, not $170. So, where does the extra $40 billion in restitution come from ? StuRat (talk) 14:52, 11 April 2009 (UTC)

I think you've got it right, but it is the government's math and reliable sources haven't reported this as a discrepancy! There's obviously more to it, but we'd have to be very careful not to put in our own OR. Maybe somebody can find a source that actually does explain it, or maybe somebody could VERY CAREFULLY expalin this perhaps ending with ".. the extra $40 billion has not been explained." Smallbones (talk) 09:55, 20 May 2009 (UTC)

Victim of injustice[edit]

I am a bit concerned that this article in slanted. There is no mention or provision that he might have been a victim of hastily arranged injustice. The fact that he was brought to trial and convicted within 6 months of being arrested raises suspicion in my mind. There appears to be an untold story here - Mr Madoff certainly hasn't told his side yet. I think the Madoffs are getting railroaded. I think this article is heavily anti-semitic. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 81.158.54.161 (talk) 12:07, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

You've got to be kidding. This article is "slanted" because it doesn't involve your imaginings? Because it doesn't include the defense he did not present? Because he acknowledges his guilt and the article accurately says so? Wow. What a slant! --Christofurio (talk) 05:05, 7 May 2009 (UTC)

If you have evidence of injustice from a reliable secondary source please present it.

Beganlocal (talk) 18:56, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

Section on documentaries[edit]

I'd previously removed the last section on documentaries - only explaining in the edit note that I thought that documentaries in themselves are not relevant, especially one's not yet shown. It's been re-inserted without comment, so I'll delete it again with further comment. I'd appreciate it if it wasn't reinserted without some support here. And I'd appreciate all comments from either side.

My feeling is that if the PBS documentary is important, then some fact or opinon from it should have been added and it simply be referenced like any other source. The fact that somebody intends to show a documentary to the public in the future doesn't strike me as relevant, except perhaps if it was some exceptional director (perhaps Michael Moore, but I'd think even then...). Smallbones (talk) 10:04, 20 May 2009 (UTC)

You probably refer to the Frontline docu which I saw here in Australia in June. After watching it, I came to the conclusion that Madoff must have had protectors who reached into the SEC. To me, the three people questioned in Congress did not look like souls who had made a regrettable mistake. They looked like people who could not say what really had happened. I bet 100 bucks (Australian) that somebody leant on them to let Madoff off.

Madoff must have been a front for something, e.g. organised crime, Nixon-type grubbiness, funding Latino guerillas, Mossad, and/or tax-evaders. He must have fronted some powerful backers, some of these and/or all of these at various times in various degrees.

There is a link to the political class with Thyssen, who were involved in German reunification criminality.

Madoff's insistence on secrecy, and that his feeders should not register as financial advisors who could have been scrutinised, indicates that he needed to remain under the radar even though he knew it was not legal. He obviously expected his powerful backers to come to the rescue should he or his feeder be found out.

In addition, the whole thing went on for a very long time and most people would have exited a successful scam sooner, rather than running the risk of if falling in a heap. He could have structured his business for retirement ten, fifteen years ago, but someone wanted him to continue and that someone would have been the one who leant on the SEC.

There are many painful lessons to be learnt from the Madoff debacle. One of them is that promoting small government means fewer tax audits. Just imagine, Madoff would have had tax auditors in his company 15 years ago! It might have cost the IRS half a million, but would have saved billions.

Madoff is a creature of US ideology and as long as that does not change, many more Madoffs will fleece you. Cutting taxes and small government breeds Madoffs - that is the lesson for the ideologues! 121.209.49.198 (talk) 04:47, 27 June 2009 (UTC)

Not only is it a biographical study, and explains his chronology, but all biographical pages refer and discuss when available biographical facts in publications and media. i am reinserting it as more will be added and it will be lost when we want to locate it. Furtive admirer (talk) 20:51, 20 May 2009 (UTC)
Before we get into an edit war, how about some middle ground, as I agree in part and disagree in part. The Frontline paragraph should stay, as Furtive admirer is correct that including it is consistent with how we treat other subjects, and it is also well-sourced. But the remainder should go: it violates WP:CRYSTAL, and is non-notable works by a non-notable director. There is no mention of either of those 2 documentaries in the 62nd Cannes film festival article, and the source in this article is the person talking about themselves. I will, however, wait to make this change until others have time to comment. UnitedStatesian (talk) 22:46, 20 May 2009 (UTC)
I absolutely don't want an edit war, but I will remove the future documentaries paragraph in 2 days unless somebody offers a rationale for it. As for the PBS documentary - to me it looks like a source - and if it can be used as a source it should stay. We don't have a special section for "An article appeared in the New Yorker on Madoff," but we could very well have some fact (or even opinion marked as such) taken from it. Why is a PBS "article" any different?
As far as "other articles do this" - see Other stuff. Trivia or "Popular culture" sections are commonly discouraged see WP:Trivia. Finding previously inserted material is easy: just write down the date it was inserted, or put a note on this page with the specific version or diff (e.g. [21]) when it was inserted or deleted. Smallbones (talk) 08:34, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

Documentaries are historical and have longevity, (long after Madoff, who is going away permanently next month without any explanation for his heinous actions) especially when it is biographical. The entire documentary has been posted on the PBS Frontline website and has been linked as a footnote. "The Madoff Affair" Watch it if you want, and then add a "fact or opinion" if it makes you fulfilled. added essential info to enhance is always desirable.. This section is neither "other stuff" nor trivia. I am certain Madoff's wife doesn't find it as such either; it is part of his legacy. Posterity should have access to a historical cultural literacy record.

If finding material - new or deleted- is so easy, I suggest deleters start doing as such, along with "substituting", rather than solely patrolling, merely scrutinizing, seeking only to delete. It is chronic. I say, keep the section as is, and watch its significance evolve!

Furtive admirer (talk) 15:07, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

Since no rational has been offered for the inclusion of information on the future documentaries that might possibly be shown in the future, I am removing them. The PBS documentary is a bit different. It has already been shown and is a great piece of journalism. Nonetheless, here it is only a source - it is not relevant in and of itself, so we should treat it like a source. I fully intend to use it as a reference in the future, but for now will leave it, but only as an external link (which I inserted yesterday). Smallbones (talk) 12:56, 24 May 2009 (UTC)

A rationale has been explained, but not to your personal preference. I am reverting your sanctimonious decision without a proper consensus. Furtive admirer (talk) 16:47, 24 May 2009 (UTC)

The edits by both of you constitute an edit war, in my opinion. Please stop. Why are either of you unable to compromise (the one I suggested is perfectly reasonable)? Or go elsewhere on Wikipedia? UnitedStatesian (talk) 16:53, 24 May 2009 (UTC)

Let's get serious[edit]

and address the nitty gritty. Here are the paragraphs:

'Documentaries

PBS's Frontline has produced a documentary on the Madoff Affair. He "consistently turned a profit for thousands of investors, entire families had their fortunes invested with him, he brokered deals with powerful hedge fund managers and feeder funds from Buenos Aires to Zurich." [65]

Producer Edmund Druilhet, is filming a major documentary movie for release in late 2009. His two projects include: "Madoff: Made Off with America," and "Satan of Wall Street". His father lost half his retirement with Madoff. His plans are to show a shorter version of the film at Cannes Film Festival in May, 2009.[66]

"This is a very important part of history," Druilhet said. "There's something really incredible that went on here and has gone on here. I think it's much deeper than what we've seen on the surface. I think that this story is going to continue to evolve."[67]'

The first sentence. OK as far as it goes, but it really doesn't say anything other than "Here's a good source" we usually handle sources in a different manner - i.e. use it as a reference for something. FA above says it references something in a footnote, but it's only a self-refernce on its own existence. But let it stay.
The second sentence. A quote from the PBS documentary - very non-specific - it's not about the documentary so it doesn't belong in a section on documentaries, rather it's an introduction to the whole affair and if it belongs anywhere it's in the lede. In short get rid of this.
2nd and 3rd paragraphs - about future documentaries that might be shown, by, as far as I can tell, a non-entity film maker and then his opinions. Violates WP:Crystal and irrelevant at the same time. Obviously get rid of it (per United Statesian).

So do we really want a section that in full reads.

'Documentaries

PBS's Frontline has produced a documentary on the Madoff Affair.'?

If FA doesn't understand this logic, I suggest that he select some proper forum or dispute resolution procedure and we follow that out. To me it just looks like he won't allow anybody to edit his contributions - even in the most obvious cases - in which case he is violating the first rule of Wikipedia:

  • If you don't want your writing to be edited mercilessly or redistributed for profit by others, do not submit it.

Smallbones (talk) 17:24, 24 May 2009 (UTC)

ok, SB, the latter documentary has not been released, so it will appear again, later. put the frontline quote in the lede and keep the external link for reference. and thanx for a fuller explanation of your concern, professor!
Furtive admirer (talk) 19:13, 24 May 2009 (UTC)
Done, with one small problem. Future documentaries removed. PBS in external links (where I put it yesterday). The only problem is that I can't figure out where the quote fits in the lede. Let's let somebody else do it. The text with footnote included is:
He "consistently turned a profit for thousands of investors, entire families had their fortunes invested with him, he brokered deals with powerful hedge fund managers and feeder funds from Buenos Aires to Zurich." [7]
Thanks to whoever can do this well. Sorry if I abbreviated people's names, but I do it with everybody. Feel free to call me SB or Smallbones, but other names sound as if you intend them to be derogatory. Smallbones (talk) 20:04, 24 May 2009 (UTC)

RfC - Jewish Ethnicity in the Lead[edit]

I repeat: This article is outrageous, prejudiced, and biased! In the (similar) case of Conrad Black, reference to his 'British' ancestry and 'Roman Catholic' religious background is foremost: "Conrad Moffat Black, Baron Black of Crossharbour, PC, OC, KCSG (born 25 August 1944, in Montreal, Quebec) is a Canadian-born British historian, columnist and publisher who was for a time the third biggest newspaper magnate in the world.[1] He is currently incarcerated at the Coleman Federal Correctional Complex in Florida,[2]." His categories are as follows: Categories: 1944 births | British biographers | British businesspeople | British conservatives | British criminals | British fraudsters | British historians | British mass media owners | British newspaper publishers (people) of the 20th century | British newspaper publishers (people) of the 21st century | British Roman Catholics | Canadian Business Hall of Fame | Carleton University alumni | Converts to Roman Catholicism | Corporate scandals | Historians of the United States | Jailed UK peers | Life peers | Living people | McGill University alumni | Members of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada | Officers of the Order of Canada | Ontario writers | People from Toronto | People from Montreal | Université Laval alumni | Upper Canada College alumni | White-collar criminals.

If this article is not edited to reflect Wikipedia's practice of INCLUDING the ethnicity of infamous British Christians, I will make a point of it in other media and to regulatory bodies including human rights. Academentia (talk) 18:35, 29 June 2009 (UTC) academentia

Per the WP guidelines, I'm going to 'be bold' and suggest a change.

I think that in this case, due to the Jewish organisations and charities he defrauded, and his use of his connections in the Jewish community to do so, I think that per WP:MOSBIO his ethnicity is indeed relevant to his notability.

Sections of the Jewish media have taken his fraud very personally indeed, and it appears to be the case that his clients, individual and corporate, have a high degree of Jewish representation.

I don't know how we go about formatting an RfC, and some assistance would be appreciated.

Perhaps once and for all we could state clearly the points for and against, reach a community decision, and most importantly provide a clear, logical, and persuasive record for future contributors to refer to.

Beganlocal (talk) 09:05, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

His involvement with and membership in Jewish organisations arguably belongs in the lead. Nothing is gained by stating his ancestry on top of that. Breaking the general rule is unnecessary. Feketekave (talk) 13:44, 5 June 2009 (UTC)

My view is that when someone relies on an ethnic network and their customs to do business, then it is admissable to mention that ethnicity, whether it is Jewish, Italian, or whatever. 121.209.49.198 (talk) 04:30, 27 June 2009 (UTC)

Why mention membership in Jewish organisations in the lead? If there is some notabliity and it rises to the level that warrants inclusion in the lead, then maybe. Has that been established? TIA, --Tom (talk) 16:45, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
I'd say no for Madoff, who wasn't very observant, but yes for J. Ezra Merkin. Merkin was head of the Fifth Avenue Synagogue and a number of other Jewish organizations. His participation in the fraud involved getting many prominent Jewish organizations and members of his synagogue to invest in Madoff's scam. So there, it's relevant. It's still an open question as to whether Merkin was a sucker or an accomplice, but as the court cases unwind, that will become clear. --John Nagle (talk) 16:53, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
What is the relevant language in WP:bio? I don't off-hand see it as indicating that it is appropriate to reflect his religion in the lead, though it is fine later in the article.--Epeefleche (talk) 22:34, 5 June 2009 (UTC)
Ask and ye shall receive: "Ethnicity should generally not be emphasized in the opening unless it is relevant to the subject's notability." WP:BIO It is clearly relevant to Merkin, and perhaps also for Madoff. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Beganlocal (talkcontribs) 13:55, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
No, I don't think it belongs in the opening. While Jewish organizations were among his targets, he was just too huge in his scam generally for that to warrant inclusion in the lead. It would be an overemphasis, and would be offensive to many. --JohnnyB256 (talk) 14:31, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
This is ridiculous, the word jewish is not even mentioned anywhere in this article, even though ethnicity was large factor in who he defrauded etc. It's almost as if people are making it a point NOT to mention it. Tjrover (talk) 18:57, 29 June 2009 (UTC)tjrover

I don't think it should be in the lead. But I just added to the background article, why we shouldn't mention the family was Jewish if we have sources for that? Who decides what information is to be removed? The source, The Times article, mentions it in the first sentence. Obviously it's very relevant because of his connections to Jewish donator organisations. If it's mentioned with one word in the background section, it can't be too much. --Pudeo' 21:38, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

If we take a look at article of Barack Obama, the background section goes there as far as "Stanley Ann Dunham, an American of mainly English descent from Wichita, Kansas, and Barack Obama, Sr., a Luo from Nyang’oma Kogelo, Nyanza Province, Kenya." If we can't even mention Madoff's Jewish background with just one word in the relevant section, there must be some dubious motives for some Wikipedians to remove sourced information? --Pudeo' 21:46, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

The non-mention of his Jewish background jumped out at me while reading the article, both because it's clearly standard practise in wiki' bios to mention ethnicity/religion where apparent, and because it's very relevant to his crimes (watching the cable coverage today it would seem the vast majority of his victims were wealthy Jews and Jewish charities, who presumably made contact with him through Jewish social circles). -- stewacide (talk) 23:16, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

I think his ethnicity should be mentioned, but not in the lead. The current phrasing is not optimal. --JohnnyB256 (talk) 14:32, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

Misc. stuff[edit]

124.254.86.126 (talk) 02:00, 3 July 2009 (UTC) second line says "pled guilty"... pled is not a word! it should be "pleaded guilty"


  • Removed mention of Madoff as "former treasurer of the American Jewish Congress". He wasn't, according to the Forward.[22]. The AJC had most of their money with Madoff, and lost it; he'd been to at least one meeting of their investment committee, and Martin and Lillian Steinberg,, friends of his, were on the AJC investment committee. But Madoff himself wasn't an AJC official. --John Nagle (talk) 17:38, 9 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Requested 24/48 hours of semi-protection on the article; some anon keeps adding a link to a Bernard Madoff punching bag ad. Really. --John Nagle (talk) 17:38, 9 June 2009 (UTC)
In addition to your list, something has to be done about the lead paragraph, which is too crammed. --JohnnyB256 (talk) 14:32, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
I took a shot at trimming the lede. It certainly needed it. A lot of the removed material probably belongs elsewhere in the article. Some folks will want to add some back. I have no illusions that it will stand as now written. But let's try to get serious about making a good lede in time for the sentencing. In fact, let's try to put the whole article into shape by June 29. Maybe 50,000 people will read it within a few days of sentencing, let's not be ashamed of what it says. All the best. Smallbones (talk) 16:05, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
It's good now, thanks to your trims. Let's try to keep it that way.--JohnnyB256 (talk) 16:41, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

Article hides Madoff being Jewish[edit]

Why isn't it mentioned in the introduction that Madoff is Jewish? In other biographies ethnicity and religion is mentioned e.g. that Einstein was Jewish etc. but not that Madoff is? There is very little about Madoff being Jewish and he was close to the Jewish community and he was member of Palm Beach Country Club. Lots of his investments came from his community and various Jewish funds. Source: Documentary: This World The Madoff Hustle —Preceding unsigned comment added by 87.99.30.61 (talk) 11:54, 5 July 2009 (UTC)

Interesting point. I'll add it back in a prominent location as it is relevant to his notability per WP:MOSBIO and WP:LEDE. Beganlocal (talk) 15:46, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

Notable American Fraudsters - Spot Their Religion In The Lede[edit]

[[23]] • [[24]] • [[25]] • [[26]] • [[27]] • [[28]] • [[29]]

Nuff said...

Not quite enough said. The point is that none of the above have religion in the lede. This question has gone on for so long (from the 1st week of the article), and been seriously discussed so many times, that I think we need to be very strict in reverting religion in the lede. Smallbones (talk) 16:23, 12 July 2009 (UTC)


No, not enough said. It is an ethnicity as well as a religion. There are plenty of examples - Charles Ponzi, Italian, various "Irish mobsters", African American criminals, etc. Would you like some examples of criminals with their ethnicity in the lede? Beganlocal (talk) 17:31, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

If there are any, they would be examples of a very dubious use of ethnicity. In addition to the links provided above the "nuff said" comment, I would add Sholam Weiss, sentenced to a longer prison term than Madoff, and about as ethnic a person as you can find. His ethnicity is not and should not be in the lead either.
That article is something of a mess, by the way, though it used to be a lot worse (for a couple of years it read as if he was Nelson Mandela). Anyone willing to offer help with that would be appreciated.--JohnnyB256 (talk) 22:52, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

Lets start with a few of your choices: Bernard Ebbers - "is a Canadian-born businessman" Tony Rezko - "is a Syrian-American political fundraiser, restaurateur, and real estate developer "

If "Syrian American" is okay for Rezko, why isn't "Jewish American" okay for Madoff? Beganlocal (talk) 17:35, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

That's not his religion, and I'm not sure saying "Syrian American" is appropriate either.--JohnnyB256 (talk) 22:38, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
I took a look at the Rezko article. It is absolutely not OK, and I took it out. There is even less reason to mention his ethnicity than Madoff's. JohnnyB256 (talk) 23:06, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
Judiasm is not Madoff's religion either. Lev 19:13 - Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him That is one of the 613 mitzvot. Madoff clearly isn't observant, but he is Jewish by ethnicity. Beganlocal (talk) 11:37, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
However you define it, I don't think that affects the determination as to whether one puts religion or ethnicity in a lead. --JohnnyB256 (talk) 15:17, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
Bernard Madoff is a Jew. He used his Jewish connections to defraud wealthy Jewish individuals and Jewish charities. It is unlikely his victims would be disproportionately Jewish if it were not for their trust in a member of their community. He made extensive use of his Jewish connections to solicit funds from Jewish charities - see the article on J. Ezra Merkin who ran the fifth avenue Synagogue.
See for example this article - Anthony Rabito, also known as "Mr. Fish" and "Fat Tony" (born 1934 Williamsburgh, Brooklyn), is an Italian-American Bonnano crime family mobster and reputed acting boss or consigliere of the Bonanno family.
If we can say "Italian American financier" and "Italian-American mobster" why not "Jewish American former financier and convicted fraudster"? You may argue that it doesn't belong in the other articles, but the fact is it is frequently used in this way and nobody objects unless it happens to be about the Jews. Italian American Mafia implies Catholic also. It all seems a bit like double standards to me. Why isn't there a clear policy which is applied universally to all ethnicities.
What about Albert Einstein - (pronounced /ˈælbərt ˈaɪnstaɪn/; German: Albert_Einstein_german.ogg ˈalbɐt ˈaɪ̯nʃtaɪ̯n ; 14 March 1879 – 18 April 1955) was an ethnically Jewish[1][2], German-born theoretical physicist. I'm going to go remove that now and see how quickly it is reinserted! It is especially relevant as Einstein was no more religious than Madoff, however they are both Jewish by ethnicity. In one case, that ethnicity was used in a way relevant to the subjects notability - in the other it is not. Beganlocal (talk) 16:54, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
You keep bringing up examples of other uses of ethnicity in leads and saying "that makes it OK," but it doesn't. You have to evaluate these things on a case by case basis, and there has to be a specific reason for giving their ethnicity/religion. Einstein's notability and persona was in large measure defined by his Jewishness, so I think that including his religion in the lead makes sense. In Rabito's case, without even reading that article I can tell you that there is no justification for citing his ethnicity. There may be reason to add to the content on affinity fraud, however.--JohnnyB256 (talk) 17:41, 13 July 2009 (UTC)


And Einstein is again a German physicist of Jewish ethnicity. 6 hours. Madoff is once again a Jewish fraudster, for the time being. I agree that merely citing other articles does not make it valid. How about I set forth the reasons on a case by case basis. Madoff's notability as a financier and philanthropist was largely defined by the Jewish individuals and associations with whom he did business, and ultimately defrauded.
So far, we have the following premises. 1) There is no blanket WP policy on not citing ethnicity, and it may even be given in the lede where relevant to the subjects notability. 2) Ethnicity includes Jews, and it is correct in some circumstances to describe a person as a "Jewish American" or "German of Jewish ethnicity" 3) Ethnicity, including Jewish ethnicity, may be mentioned where it is relevant to the notability of the subject. A Jew who uses his standing in the community to rip off Jewish charities is notable for being not just a fraudster, but a Jewish fraudster who stole from Jewish charities. Yes, wealthy individuals, Jewish and non Jewish alike lost to Madoff, but the real tragedy is the charitable foundations, most of which were Jewish. Beganlocal (talk) 00:46, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

Tracking Madoff[edit]

The Bureau of Prisons Inmate Locator [30] has Madoff at United States Penitentiary, Atlanta. Earlier press reports have Madoff at Federal Correctional Complex, Butner[31], but today's report has him at United States Penitentiary, Atlanta[32]. It's possible that Madoff was being transported to Atlanta but made an overnight stop at Butner, in North Carolina. --John Nagle (talk) 16:18, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

No, it's the other way around.[33]. Madoff made a stop at Atlanta en route to Butner. Watch the Inmate Locator for an update. --John Nagle (talk) 16:43, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
His temporary sojourn in Atlanta was in several press reports. --JohnnyB256 (talk) 17:52, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
I'd think we're getting a bit too close to being a newspaper if we are discussing where he spent one night. But that's just a quibble. Smallbones (talk) 18:25, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. But I don't see any reference to Atlanta in the article at present. --JohnnyB256 (talk) 18:30, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
I don't think we need to mention Atlanta. I'd noticed that the Bureau of Prisons public access inmate locator said Atlanta, and Wikipedia might have had it wrong. But it's just that I was looking at tracking info that's more detailed than we need here. No article changes are needed.--John Nagle (talk) 20:21, 14 July 2009 (UTC)
The BOP site has updated, now showing Madoff at "BUTNER MED I FCI". --John Nagle (talk) 16:18, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
I see no harm in adding a sentence that he reported to Butner on 14 July. A Wall Street Journal article can be the source. --JohnnyB256 (talk) 17:30, 15 July 2009 (UTC)

reference request and "Others possibly involved"[edit]

First, could people please use a template for references such as the following:

<ref name="">{{cite news 
  | last =
  | first =
  | coauthors =
  | title =
  | work =
  | pages =
  | language =
  | publisher =
  | date =
  | url =
  | accessdate =  }}</ref>

It should make going through the footnotes easier and be a lot neater.

The Section "Others possibly involved" I promoted from a sub-section of Criminal charges. It should be kept separate (at least if they others are not charged). At first glance this is a pretty ballsy section - it might be interpreted as if we are saying that these guys are guilty of something. At a minimum, we need to be careful here. But I do agree that this section is needed. It explains a lot about what seems to have been going on. It is well documented, it is not us saying these things, it is major reliable sources, and we have just compliled that info.

My question is more prosaic. What order should these folks go in? Alphabetical? Any order implicitly says something, but I think our order just came in a haphazard manner. Yet there is some logic to it - it looks like the people closest to Madoff are mentioned first, and the big organizations (who may have had a bigger, if more distant effect) come later. If anybody can think of a more objective, logical order please put it in. Otherwise (but no rush at all), I'll say it should go in alphabetical order, which implicitly says - "We don't know any other logical order for this!"

Cheers,

I think this is an important section, and this writer is on the right track. I disagree with the current opening, which says something like "people think it is the largest fraud committed by a single investor." No one I know thinks Mr. Madoff did this alone. Everyone I know believes it is impossible to manage so many accounts of this size on one's own. Siggy65 (talk) 15:38, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

Allegations the sons knew about the fraud[edit]

On 24 June 2009 user JohnnyB256, undeleted "was said to have" from the the previous version "He was said to have confessed to his sons first on December 10, 2008". His motivation is that " I think we need to qualify this, because of allegations the sons knew about the fraud (see latest Vanity Fair)". This does not appear logical and it seems that JohnnyB256 wishes to defend and protect the sons in Wikipedia, while the July 2009 article in Vanity Fair, as December 15 in N.Y.Times leave the question open. If an inquiry finds no signs family aided Madoff it does not mean that it found signs that it did not aid Madoff, disregarding what "aid" means. There are sins of omission and commission. Or, as the N.Y. Times states " The person cautioned that the investigation was in its earliest stages, and examiners could still unearth evidence that Mr. Madoff’s family knew about the fraud or even helped carry it out." This is also what the sentence conveyed before the deletion. I reinstate the original sentence in the corresponding place after the many intermediate revisions, undoing the deletion. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Stefanson (talkcontribs) 21:07, 24 July 2009 (UTC)

I think you're confused, maybe by the use of all the double negatives. No, you didn't "undo the delete." The previous version on June 24 said "He confessed to his sons." I changed[34] that to "was said to have confessed" because the Vanity Fair article implied that his sons did know. I added another sentence adding stuff from the Vanity Fair article, which was taken out. Your edit today actually replicated my edit on June 24. So not only is it an impermissible personal attack to question my motives like that, we actually seem to be on the same side on this issue.--JohnnyB256 (talk) 21:26, 24 July 2009 (UTC)
I agree with you. Except for that the expression "was said to have confessed" already existed pior to this but was delete by somebody else and contributed to the misunderstanding. Sorry - not intended personal attack but assumed unjust change. I perceived inverted times of changes/revisions on June 24th after my failed trying to trace origin of deletion of text as I remembered reading it in early June. If you do not suggest a better way of repairing the misunderstanding in my statement I will try to find one, if possible and necessary. Stefanson (talk) 22:03, 24 July 2009 (UTC)
Appreciate your setting the record straight. You can strike out your comment if you wish, but not really necessary. By the way, as I said on your talk page, I think more can be done in this article to make it very clear that the "confession" to his sons was according to his lawyer Flumenbaum and is not established fact. Also I inserted a line on 6/24 providing more from the Vanity Fair article. That was removed but perhaps it should go back in. --JohnnyB256 (talk) 22:07, 24 July 2009 (UTC)

(after edit conflict)

Now you all have gotten me confused. I may have been one of the persons to have removed "was said to have confessed" a couple of months ago, but I suspect others have removed it as well. There are at least 2 problems with the phrase: 1)it needs to be attributed who said this - well it was said all over by many newspapers, but I believe the first statement was in the FBI or SEC news release on about December 12. If so just state who said this. 2) the "was said" is a backhanded way of saying "but I don't think this is true," or "I don't know that this is true." If the first meaning - Wikipedia doesn't allow your personal opinion in here; if the second meaning - of course not, you weren't there - what we need are reliable secondary sources. It's actually more serious than that - it's a backhanded way of accusing the sons of breaking the law, saying that they are criminals. If somebody reliable has said that - please put it in, but the way it is now it's against WP:BLP. There is probably some WP:OR in here as well related to the addition of the word "first" before "confessed." This is real tricky: "confessions" usually aren't made in stages - part one day the part the next. And I don't recall seeing the word "first" in any reliable source.
I think we can sort this all out with careful wording, e.g. "Source A says he confessed to his sons on December xx, but source B says ..." Well, you can do better after checking the sources, but a backhanded accusation that the sons broke the law is definitely out. Smallbones (talk) 22:22, 24 July 2009 (UTC)
I see your point. I think the ambiguity and slight snarkiness of "said to have" can be simply dealt with by saying "according to his lawyer" which I think is correct. My problem with the current wording is that it establishes as fact that the confession happened, whereas it actually was relayed by a third party to the government. I think it needs to be attributed, given the doubts that have been raised over that. --JohnnyB256 (talk) 02:21, 25 July 2009 (UTC)

At last I succeeded to identify the original change from "confessed" to "was said to have confessed" in revision by 213.67.77.96 on 7 April 2009 16:02. It is notable that I cannot find the undoing of this change among "Edit summaries" since that date and, if so, it was not fairly done. Smallbones (above) does not consider my earlier objection (also above) that if an inquiry finds no signs family aided Madoff it does not mean that it found signs that it did not aid Madoff, disregarding what "aid" means, and that there are errors of omission and commission. It is NOT the case that "was said to have confessed" is a backhanded way of accusing the sons of breaking the law, saying that they are criminals. It is rather a way of suspending judgment in lack of established facts while giving the benefit of doubt to earlier statements ("confessed first..."). Confessions, including "true" ones, ARE often made in stages, stages of conflicting versions or of increasing detail. The suggested identification and checking of "source A" and "source B" as well as investigation of further secondary sources is limited by available resources and access. The philosophical solution to limitation of facts and unknown premises is the dialectical method (since Plato), while Smallbones implicitly proposes a so called positivistic approach which traditionally presupposes unproblematic access to facts. I insist in keeping the present formulation "is said to have informed his sons first", also because it applies basic principles of logic and dialectics and is documented by the present challenging discussion. Stefanson (talk) 08:00, 25 July 2009 (UTC)

Arbitrary break[edit]

Let's keep in mind that "truth" is not what we're after, but rather verifiability. Also, of course it is correct that we must avoid implicating others by backhanded wording. I personally don't think that "is said to have confessed" implicates anyone, but I also agree we can probably word it better.

Having said all that, there is definitely wording about confessing in the Bloomberg article that's been sourced in this article for a while. It leads with Bernard Madoff confessed to two sons this week that his investment advisory business was "a giant Ponzi scheme", which is clear, direct wording from a reliable source. It goes on later to say that it is quoting from the FBI complaint and names the agent who wrote it. The bit about Flumenbaum being the source for some information is also in this article.

It is probably the case that we don't need to discuss the sons' potential involvement or knowledge at all in this article, as there doesn't appear to be anything to discuss. If there is - and I'm not at this point thinking there is - it's probably more appropriate in the Madoff investment scandal article.

There may well be additional sources, such as the aforementioned Vanity Fair article (which I haven't read), and surely there are additional points of view, but I don't think we have any problem with saying "confessed to his sons" when that's what the source says, and there are others to say it as well. We don't need to decipher what "confessed" means; it's a pretty standard word, and we should not worry that the implication is "first confessed" or "pretended to confess to his <innocent/guilty take-your-pick-of-relatives>" because none of that is contained in the phrase "confessed to his sons". We have no idea what order things happened in, and we certainly don't know who knew what when. What we do know is that the source says he confessed to his sons that week, and that source is certainly reliable enough to include it in this article. (Also, to muddy the waters a bit, that source mentions a "senior employee no. 3" in addition to 1 and 2, and only implies the identities of them anyway, so to draw any conclusions would be WP:OR in addition to a BLP issue.)

Finally, I would say that if we change it to was said to have confessed, it seems to me that we are calling into question the reliability of the Bloomberg article more than anything else.  Frank  |  talk  13:35, 25 July 2009 (UTC)

Perhaps we can say "according to the criminal complaint"? It's in dispute in Vanity Fair and elsewhere. I'm just concerned about the unequivocal language.
Just a quick response to User:Stefanson above: it really isn't necessary to go back several weeks and track down who changed what text and when. Best to just work off the text as it is and not drag personalities into it.--JohnnyB256 (talk) 14:37, 25 July 2009 (UTC)
Good, my reason to try to track down changes was my eagerness in taking notice of other possible arguments and motivations, e.g. in edit summary, which could deserve my respectful consideration in ongoing and future discussions. The fact that such arguments cannot be found makes me still more pensative about the motivations "by default" of users who make or revert such changes. I will return later to Frank's (and your) insert. Stefanson (talk) 20:10, 25 July 2009 (UTC)

RESPONSE TO USER:FRANK I read from your reference to Bloomberg:

Dec. 12 (Bloomberg). ...Bernard Madoff confessed to two sons this week that his investment advisory business was “a giant Ponzi scheme” that cost clients $50 billion before two FBI agents showed up yesterday morning at his Manhattan apartment.... ...Madoff’s sons, Andrew and Mark, turned him in to U.S. authorities on the night of Dec. 10 after his confession, according to Martin Flumbenbaum, an attorney for the brothers.... ...After saying he had no “innocent explanation,” Madoff confessed “it was all his fault,” Cacioppi wrote.

I repeat: "BEFORE two FBI agents showed up yesterday morning at his Manhattan apartment." And "AFTER the confession...ACCORDING TO Martin Flumenbaum, an attorney FOR THE BROTHERS." And "confessed 'it was all his fault', [to FBI agent] Cacioppi..." (My emphasis.)

Consequently: I obviously agree that we don't need to discuss the sons' potential involvement or knowledge at all in this article, and I never questioned this. I also agree that WE have no idea what order things happened in, and we certainly don't know who knew what when. What we do know is what the source says. I only claimed that Wikipedia itself should not endorse what one source (Bloomberg's article) states to have been the case "according to Martin Flumenbaum, an attorney of the brothers." And that the event would have happened on exactly on December 10 "after his confession", also according to Martin Flumbenbaum. Because of all this, despite of not considering it an improvement of today's text I would not object to the following wordings, upon the express condition that they very clearly state the reference to the source(s). Such as (in the two relevant places of the article as of today, where the first was yet to be corrected, and I do it now):

  • (1) According to the attorney for Madoff's sons (ref to Blomberg) he confessed to his sons on December 10, 2008, that the asset management arm of his firm...
  • (2) According to the sons' attorney (ref to Blomberg) Madoff informed his sons on December 10, 2008 that he had decided... Stefanson (talk) 21:27, 25 July 2009 (UTC)


I terminated my work on this article this evening by changing "is said to have confessed" to "has reportedly confessed", as it suddenly occurred to me to be a good idea, a solution while others may consider my last suggestions here (immediately above this text). With this I consider my modest contributions to edit and discussion of this article to be over. I think that other Wikipedia contributos should now take further action if necessary. Thank you for your discussions. Stefanson (talk) 21:53, 25 July 2009 (UTC)

FINAL COMMENT ON USER FRANK'S LATEST EDIT OF THE ARTICLE YESTERDAY, JULY 25TH FRANK changed the wording to reflect a source and refers to my previous change. The Edit symmary says: "No need to put "reportedly" and "is said to have" with every sentence; that is what citations are for." I do not understand the reason for this insistence upon endorsing in Wikipedia one party's version of events. One should be careful in citations to make clear who says and stands for what. The cited source (the news agency and the authors of the article) do NOT stand for that "He confessed" or "He informed" but only for that the sons' attorney reported that (and agents said, etc.). Therefore I think that my suggestions in the last discussion (above) uses the citation accurately and that Frank's use is inaccurate and outrightly wrong. Stefanson (talk) 07:39, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

The citation says, very clearly, in the first sentence, which you copied above: " Bernard Madoff confessed to two sons this week that his investment advisory business was "a giant Ponzi scheme" ". The only thing being insisted upon here is adherence to WP:CITE and WP:V.  Frank  |  talk  08:11, 26 July 2009 (UTC)


CLARIFICATION TO USER FRANK: I am sorry for having to insist, but at least I refrain from playing around with further editings after my STOP. I wrote above, on July 25th: I only claimed that Wikipedia itself should not endorse what one source (Bloomberg's article) states to have been the case "according to Martin Flumenbaum, an attorney of the brothers." I think that this is what your latest editing has done, in DISREGARD of the following three excerpts from WP:CITE, WP:V, and WP:NPOV. See excerpts below. I think that the origin and core of your mistake is a misunderstaning of the concept of source. That the Bloomberg source contains a string of words like " Bernard Madoff confessed to two sons this week..." disregards the question of context, asserts the opinion of other sources (attorney) as fact, and does this by ignoring that the source cited (Bloomberg) does NOT support unambiguosly the information in the string, as I have already shown above. Compare below:

For statements about which reliable sources are in conflict or that are matters of differing opinion, the text should include sufficient context to qualify the statement or attribute its source. For example (from Super-recursive algorithm): Martin Davis has described some of Burgin's claims as "misleading". In a case like this, it is important for the text to attribute this opinion to its source, so it does not appear that Wikipedia is making this criticism of Burgin's claims. See Wikipedia:Neutral Point of View.

The policy requires that where multiple or conflicting perspectives exist within a topic, each must be presented fairly. None of the views should be given undue weight or asserted to be "the truth". Instead, all of the various significant published viewpoints are made accessible to the reader, and not just the most popular...Assert facts, including facts about opinions—but do not assert the opinions themselves...

The source cited must unambiguously support the information as it is presented in the article. Stefanson (talk) 17:43, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

Do you have an alternate source that says he did not confess to his sons? If so, please provide a link to it and we can discuss that. Otherwise, I fail to see the problem with the current wording, which accurately reflects not only the cited source, but also articles in The Financial Post, Forbes, The Australian, Marketwatch, and over 1500 additional sources that we can see on Google News alone.  Frank  |  talk  18:46, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

In the moment I am thinking about earlier references in our discussion, to Vanity Fair July 2009 and N.Y.Times December 15th, 2008. You keep putting the question in the negative form. Why you do not ask whether any reference has proved that Madoff CONFESSED TO HIS SONS FIRST ON DECEMBER 10, as you want Wikipedia to endorse? I myself have not seen a single evidence from an "independent source" that this was the case except for what the sons' attorney, and certainly the sons themselves as well Bernard Madoff himself must have said. And from what was supposed and written - but not witnessed - by a few strangers to the family around and after December 11 follow necessarily the 1500 sources, and more around the world. I also saw a while ago an analog citation issue born today in this article's History, about "the largest investor fraud ever committed by a single person": or "allegedly" by a single person. With a better logic that in our case user Beganlocal undid the "allegedly" introduced by user Siggy65. The citation was indeed originally right but not necessarily the truth-content of the citation. And this is the way possible untruths are diffused by other later 1500 sources who do not care about details and wordings. Stefanson (talk) 20:43, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

Frank, do you have a problem with adding the words "according to the criminal complaint" before Madoff confessed etc. etc.? I know that it is common usage not to say that. I don't think that journalistic usage on this is controlling. --JohnnyB256 (talk) 21:09, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

First, there is no wording in there that says "confessed to his sons first", and I don't support that wording. It says "he confessed to his sons" - nothing more. Since many reliable sources say that, I can't see what the problem is. Second, We're not talking about another user's edits about another part of the article; please open another thread if you find that to be a problem. Third, Wikipedia is not about truth, but about verifiability - we must never lose sight of that fact. We do not - and may never - know the order of events. But we can certainly make a very good effort at writing about what others have pieced together and reported in reliable sources. Fourth, as for "according to the criminal complaint" - I wonder what we are trying to avoid by using that convoluted wording. It seems like we are saying there is some question that he confessed to his sons.

It is quite possible that the dénouement to this whole thing was completely orchestrated by Madoff, and that one or more persons were fully complicit along the way. The sands of time may shed more light on that. But to put "according to..." when a large majority of sources report it as if it happened a certain way puts an undue WP:FRINGE cast on the whole thing. It doesn't matter if the eventual story is shown to be substantially different than what we have written now; the point is that what we have is what the sources say - whether we think it is the full story or not. It's not for us to judge.

I do not know if he confessed to his sons first - and for that matter, I don't know that he "confessed" at all. There are any number of possible scenarios, and it is a sure bet that books on the subject have been written and are being researched right now. But the great thing about Wikipedia is that we do not need to know - because we are not about truth but rather about verifiability. If the information that the reliable sources are reporting changes, then so can the article. Right now, a staggeringly large number of sources have said - and continue to say - that "Madoff confessed to his sons", so that's what we have in the article, as it should be.

Finally, as for Vanity Fair and the NY Times, I'd like more information as to these sources, and if you are proposing alternate wording, please start a new thread and make a proposal.  Frank  |  talk  01:11, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

I don't think that "according to" places it in fringe category. What is your basis in policy for suggesting that we have to follow the exact wording of the media? --JohnnyB256 (talk) 01:30, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
WP:FIVE, WP:CITE, WP:V...you know, the basics. I'm not suggesting we have to follow exact wording, but there is definitely a long list (with lengthy discussion) of words to avoid...  Frank  |  talk  01:38, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
None of those policies require that we use the exact wording in sources. --JohnnyB256 (talk) 02:34, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
Just as none of them suggests that we qualify things when the sources themselves don't.  Frank  |  talk  02:41, 27 July 2009 (UTC)



It is in inherent to the concept of confession that when one says "confessed to his sons on December 10" it is not intended that "confessed for the second or third time" the same stuff. How many times does one need to confess in order to have confessed? By stating "confessed" one states "confessed for the first time". The only reason I see for insisting in not allowing the word "first" is the unconscious reluctance to taking over an explicit disagreeable responsibility for the truth of this particular statement while emotionally wishing to endorse it irresponsibly.

Furthermore, JohnnyB256 objects to Frank: "None of those policies require that we use the exact wording in sources". (I showed above with excerpts from the policies that they indeed require the use of other words.) But Frank responds: " Just as none of them suggests that we qualify things when the sources themselves don't." To me this shows very clearly that Frank does not acknowledge what I explained above. Frank repeatedly puts things in their negative form, and my only explanation is that he has a bias for his choice of the positive form, that is the original statement. Why should we do X? But why should'nt we? With such kind of arguments, shifting the heavy burden of proof to others, X will be done in most cases. In our case THERE ARE reasons why we should qualify things when the sources themselves don't! And my whole argumentation up to now has shown why. But one sees how the bias works: Frank does not even consider my "because", and therefore I do not even know whether he has read, or understood it.

Further: Frank refers to "Fringe theories" and returns to a misunderstood "verifiability" divorced from (the quest for) truth, but does not consider convenient to emphasize (besides my earlier excerpts from WP:CITE, WP:V, and WP:NPOV) what is stated there about Quotations:

  • "While proper attribution of a perspective to a source satisfies the minimal requirements of Wikipedia's neutral point of view, there is an additional editorial responsibility for including only those quotes and perspectives which further the aim of creating a verifiable and neutral Wikipedia article. Quotes that are controversial or potentially misleading need to be properly contextualized to avoid unintentional endorsement or deprecation. What is more, just because a quote is accurate and verifiably attributed to a particular source does not mean that the quote must necessarily be included in an article..."

And this is what our discussion has been about: that Wikipedia should avoid unintentional endorsement of a potentially misleading quote under the pretext of spreading a "verifiable" secondary quote despite the fact that it does not rely on primary sources. What I want to avoid is Wikipedia becoming a loudspeaker for the world press, and in such case having to drop the additional connotation of free "encyclopedia". Or did "free" mean that it does not care about truth? I consider Frank's remarkable quotation: "But the great thing about Wikipedia is that we do not need to know - because we are not about truth but rather about verifiability. Great thing? I myself prefer Webster's Third New International Dictionary main definition: VERIFY - To prove to be true.

And finally, closing the circle to the beginning of our discussion, with reference to misreading Wikipedia's "Words to avoid" and the paradoxical avoidance of the word "say": "Said" and "stated" are standard journalistic words. When a statement is unproven or subjective, or when a factual assertion is made without contradiction, use a form of the word say or state. I conclude: avoidance of the word Say indicates an indirect claim that the statement is supposedly proven and objective. Do primary sources matter? Do our contradictions matter? Why such a desperate claim? Stefanson (talk) 09:05, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

I've got to agree with Stefanson on this. The source that's being used is Madoff's son's lawyer, someone who is being paid to protect their interests. It goes without saying that he won't be implicating the Madoffs Jnr in any illegal activity. I think it would be much better attribute the quote to their lawyer rather than just stating it as a fact. And there's plenty of speculation that his sons knew about the scheme, they are being sued by ex employees who are alleging just that. Ticklemygrits (talk) 10:31, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

Arbitrary break #2[edit]

Some important (and short) comments:

  • The idea of a misunderstood "verifiability" divorced from (the quest for) truth shows a pretty glaring lack of understanding of one of Wikipedia's core policies: WP:V. If anyone here is editing this (or any) article with the idea of arriving at The Truth,™ now would be a good time to re-read WP:V very thoroughly. In fact, if that situation applies, please do so before continuing through my additional points, because it is central to understanding what they are based on. If you are impatient, please read the first sentence of the policy, which is the core of it.
  • This choice of wording is quite clear to me, and I'm failing to see a reason defined on this talk page that we should implicate any other person in this situation by using "is said to" or "are alleged to" or "according to their lawyer" or anything like that.
  • A person may confess something as many times as he or she sees fit, and they may publicly claim to have confessed something when in fact they have not. Since truth is not currently knowable in this case, and since verifiability is always what we are after, and the sources say he confessed to his sons, that seems the perfectly appropriate thing to write in our article.
  • The implication that I am (or anyone is) looking for negative wording is a mischaracterization of things. I am advocating the words (and concepts) that are in the sources - simply that "he confessed to his sons". To begin to implicate other individuals by changing this wording may very well be, in itself, a WP:BLP violation - not to Madoff himself, but to said other individuals. We must avoid that.
  • As for the dictionary definition of "verify" - it is entirely appropriate, and we must apply it properly according to WP:V: we are verifying that what we are writing matches the sources. We are not verifying that the sources are correct or true.

To be clear, I am not saying "the current wording is fine; there's no reason to change it". What I am saying - and this is quite different - is "the proposed wordings violate our policies, and they make our article worse by doing so". I refer, in particular, to WP:V, WP:BLP, and WP:WTA.  Frank  |  talk  13:08, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

I think you're making a "policy issue" out of this where none exists. As you acknowledged yourself, policy is silent on whether we have to use the exact wording of sources. Adding a scoach more detail is not going to violate policy and actually makes the article more precise and informative. I don't understand what all the drama is about or why that would be so awful. This is an encyclopedia, not a news digest. --JohnnyB256 (talk) 13:44, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

I realize that this is no longer a fair discussion by Frank. I leave it at that, after stating my final judgmente by inserting my edit today, based on the latest and unexpected information I got. Stefanson (talk) 14:09, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

As support for others' future constructive discussion and improvement of the article, against the background of the discussion above, and to counter the risk of establishing practical censorship amid the complications of supposed Wikipedia:Dispute resolution please see the especially points 2 to 6 of "Examples" in Wikipedia:Gaming the system which are highly relevant for this case. Stefanson (talk) 15:59, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

Date of confession[edit]

I undid this edit, which is mis-applying WP:V and WP:CITE. There may well be a lawsuit, but the sentence in question is talking about what has been reported in reliable sources. If there is a lawsuit against his sons, and if it is appropriate to include in this article, it doesn't belong in the lede. Furthermore, the wording I undid concludes that the existence of a lawsuit alleging someone else knew in advance is the same as disputing the date he confessed to his sons, which is WP:SYNTH - against policy.

Sorry to be throwing all the alphabet soup policies out here, but they are really quite clear, and this most definitely is a high-profile, WP:BLP article. And, more to the point, the BLP issues apply to multiple people, not just the subject of this article.  Frank  |  talk  14:19, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

I won't quibble about where that should be in the article, and the language could have been a bit more neutral, but that should be somewhere in the article. As for invoking BLP, that's absolutely ridiculous. These are legal actions reported in reliable sources. Removing them completely from the article is not warranted. You should have fixed the wording and placed it elsewhere, if you felt it was not in the right place. I'll go back and look and see what can be done.--JohnnyB256 (talk) 14:40, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
Looking at the Stefanson edit again, I see that all that seems to be at issue is one word, "contested," and some text added to the reference. So it is really more of a mountain out of a molehill than I thought. The issue of the date being "contested," which it is, in lawsuits. While I think that could be handled differently, I think that needs to be clearer in the article.--JohnnyB256 (talk) 15:00, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
I was alerted to this dispute on the BLP notice board. BLP requires care here. May I suggest an alternate wording for the disputed sentences that starts with what everyone agrees happened and neither endorses nor questions the sons' account: His sons contacted authorities on December 10, 2008, reporting that their father had just confessed that the asset management arm of his firm was a giant Ponzi scheme, quoting him as saying it was "one big lie." The following day, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents arrested Madoff... (citations omitted, to be restored) The lawsuit against the sons can then be mentioned elsewhere. (Allegations in newly filed lawsuits deserve minimal notice as the initiating parties tend to include any charge they can think of.)--agr (talk) 15:09, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
I certainly have no problem with that wording. The fact that this account is contested is already in the article, and perhaps can be expanded a bit at that place in the article.--JohnnyB256 (talk) 15:17, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
agr seems to have it about right. Perhaps its worthwhile to say that Madoff's sons' lawyers contacted authorities, rather than the sons themselves. I'll just editorialize (on this page) that it's understandable that some folks want to get some scalps in the Madoff affair, but that is not something that Wikipedia can do, and ultimately it causes confusion and hides what actually happened. Smallbones (talk) 17:23, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
I think there's a genuine concern about the way the confession is referred to. But it's been obscured by some newbie-type missteps, particularly an annoying tendency on the part of one new editor to question people's motives. --JohnnyB256 (talk) 23:53, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

I made the edit I proposed with some minor tweeks. You're both invited to my place for a beer.--agr (talk) 00:01, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

Looks good. You know, I really have to compliment you on coming up with this language. It may seem obvious, but nobody thought of it. --JohnnyB256 (talk) 00:11, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
Yes, -agr, you found a wise formulation. I feel it incorporates a full and obvious understanding of what I kept trying to explain all the time. I assume you checked against primary sources the details, who contacted the authorities, told he had confessed, quoted him, etc., that is, both sons, no attorney, etc., since i have not re-read the stuff. Stefanson (talk) 07:29, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

Ethnicity[edit]

This article is outrageous, prejudiced, and biased! In the (similar) case of Conrad Black, reference to his 'British' ancestry and 'Roman Catholic' religious background is foremost: "Conrad Moffat Black, Baron Black of Crossharbour, PC, OC, KCSG (born 25 August 1944, in Montreal, Quebec) is a Canadian-born British historian, columnist and publisher who was for a time the third biggest newspaper magnate in the world.[1] He is currently incarcerated at the Coleman Federal Correctional Complex in Florida,[2]." His categories are as follows: Categories: 1944 births | British biographers | British businesspeople | British conservatives | British criminals | British fraudsters | British historians | British mass media owners | British newspaper publishers (people) of the 20th century | British newspaper publishers (people) of the 21st century | British Roman Catholics | Canadian Business Hall of Fame | Carleton University alumni | Converts to Roman Catholicism | Corporate scandals | Historians of the United States | Jailed UK peers | Life peers | Living people | McGill University alumni | Members of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada | Officers of the Order of Canada | Ontario writers | People from Toronto | People from Montreal | Université Laval alumni | Upper Canada College alumni | White-collar criminals.

If this article is not edited to reflect Wikipedia's practice of INCLUDING the ethnicity of infamous British Christians, I will make a point of it in other media and to regulatory bodies including human rights. Academentia (talk) 18:32, 29 June 2009 (UTC) academentia

As of 12:42 June 29, 2009 his ethnicity // religion has been reflected as per status quo. Academentia (talk) 18:44, 29 June 2009 (UTC)


I have made an edit to include Madoff's Jewish ethnicity in the lead. I refer to WP:MOSBIO which states that referring to ethnicity in the lead should be avoided, except where relevant to the subject's notability. In this case the Jewish community has been directly affected by Madoff's actions, and his ethnicity is directly relevant to this.

See this article for an example - Madoff Wall Street fraud threatens Jewish philanthropy. "One charity already closed and insiders are worried that the ramifications of Madoff's financial demise may extend to the many organizations he supported and the wealthy Jews he advised"

I welcome some constructive debate on this matter.

Beganlocal (talk) 18:32, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

If that was the case, why not say that he was a schemer whose victims were primarily Jewish? The user below said that Ponzi's Italian descent is marked all over the article, but it's not in the first sentence. The only Jew I've ever seen to have this is Albert Einstein. Although I don't completely think this is necessary, the reason it's relevant to him is that if he wasn't Jewish and fled Germany, he wouldn't have developed the atomic bomb for the US, and history would have been completely altered. Ponzi dealt with Italians, but their ethnicity didn't facilitate his actions, thus his ethnicity is kept out of the header. The same should be with Madoff.

BrandMan211 (talk) 23:25, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

Why are you people trying to hide the fact that he's a Jew? Don't tell me you believe it's irrelevant or smth like that. Charles Ponzi's Italian descent is all over the place in his article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.120.253.157 (talk) 19:49, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

See my comments above. Please refrain from speaking in a non-constructive fashion. Feketekave (talk) 01:23, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Your attempt to rationalize things the way you do isn't convincing. A lot of people will want to know some basic things about the man (either from the categories at the bottom or the factbox on the right) and ethnicity, occupation, place of birth are clearly relevant, just as they are for any other person of some importance. Removing him from the relevant categories is clearly an attempt to hide his ethnicity and your arguments are not going to convince me or a lot of other people. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.120.253.157 (talk) 07:42, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

A classification by descent isn't a fact about him - it's a fact about you.

At the same time, his *acting* in an "ethnic" way - belonging to ethnically constituted clubs, being involved in ethnic matters - is relevant to his life and career, in that he managed to use that to con. I have made no attempt to hide that. Feketekave (talk) 11:33, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

Incidentally, the same absurd accusation about "hiding" has been made by other people - whose motivations are possibly not the same as yours - when myself or others have opposed categorising individuals who are famous for their contributions, as opposed to damage caused. Feketekave (talk) 11:36, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

I think ethnicity helps define an individual, for better or worse. I would never oppose categorising Jews or any other people based on ethnicity who have positive merits. You're jumping to conclusions by assuming I'm an anti-semite. All I said was that it's relevant and should be included. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.120.253.157 (talk) 18:01, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Is it ethinicity or just poor greed? —Preceding unsigned comment added by BlkBeard (talkcontribs) 06:23, 28 January 2009 (UTC)


Furtive admirer is repeatedly reverting the article by removing the mention of Madoff's Jewish origin in the "Personal" section despite most Jewish people being rightfully referred to as such in Wikipedia. Removal of factual information is in clear violation of Wikipedia's NPOV rules, even more so when arguments such as [35] and [36] are used. Here are a few similar Wikipedia articles about prominent people of Jewish origin with wording very similar to what is repeatedly removed in the Madoff article :

Albert Einstein : Youth and schooling Albert Einstein was born into a Jewish family in Ulm, in the Kingdom of Württemberg in the German Empire on March 14,

Sigmund Freud : Early life Sigmund Freud was born on 6 May 1856 to Galician Jewish[2] parents in P?íbor (German: Freiberg in Mähren), Moravia, Austrian Empire, now Czech Republic.

Milton Friedman : Early life Friedman was born on July 31, 1912, in Brooklyn, New York, to recent Jewish immigrants from Beregszász in Hungary

Alan Greenspan : biography Greenspan was born in 1926 to a Hungarian Jewish family in the Washington Heights area of New York City.[9]

Karl Marx : biography Karl Heinrich Marx was born in Trier, in the Kingdom of Prussia's Province of the Lower Rhine as the third of his parents' seven children. His father, Heinrich Marx (1777–1838), born Herschel Mordechai, the son of Levy Mordechai (1743-1804) and Eva Lwow (1753-1823), descended from a long line of rabbis but converted to Lutheran Christianity,

Levi Strauss : Levi Strauss, born Löb Strauß (February 26, 1829 – September 26, 1902) was a German-Jewish immigrant to the United States[1]

Why should the wording that's deemed appropriate for these people be considered inappropriate for Madoff ? This is particularly relevant, as his sale technique have been characterized as an affinity fraud. Belonging to the community that is defrauded is a key issue in any affinity fraud. 70.30.244.50 (talk) 23:09, 12 February 2009 (UTC)

I've been watching this page a while, and basically Feketekave has made it a one man mission to erase any mention of race or ethnicity from the article. If you look through his talk page, s/he doesn't believe in categorizing anyone by race or ethnicity regardless of whether people agree a person is of a race or ethnicity. For example, Feketekave has lost in the dispute on Talk:Albert_Einstein, which is a page watched more closely by established users. In the end, it's just about who cares more about this, and some anon arguing with an established account isn't going to get very far. If you go through the talk page archives here, it's clear there's a lot of opposition against removal of ethnic info, but obviously we haven't made it our mission to include this info, so we're not going to spend our lives reverting people like Feketekave and Furtive Admirer. --C S (talk) 00:19, 13 February 2009 (UTC)

Why do you select these bios? Why not Muslims, Catholics, Wasps, Greek Orthodox, etc./ Your motives are tranparent. You are a vandalizer and a harasser. The Personal section remains clean. Go find another religion to write about. Furtive admirer (talk) 02:20, 13 February 2009 (UTC)

Furtive Admirer, this is a personal attack and violates wikipedia policy. Please cease all such violations of WP:CIV and WP:NPA. That said,(talk) clearly demonstrates the point. This is a clearly established trend among biographies in wikipedia and follows WP:BOLP standards. As C S mentioned, please see Talk:Albert_Einstein . Bernard Madoff is Jewish. The New York Times confirms this and this meets WP:VERIFIABILITY and WP:SOURCES . See the article here . Further Jewish sources confirm this: Jewish Journal and Haaretz . Moreover, it is even more salient, as (talk) mentioned, due to the affinity fraud committed by Madoff. These articles clearly touch on the point of the effect his actions have had on the Jewish community. It seems that it was removed against consensus formed in the section Talk:Bernard_Madoff#Rabbi_wants_Madoff_excommunicated_for_bringing_shame_on_Jewish_people . I am fixing this now. Magemirlen (talk) 13:25, 14 February 2009 (UTC)

The consenus in that section appears to refer to this version, where Madoff's Jewish background is mentioned in the 'personal' section, rather than in the intro. Albert Einstein and the other articles mentioned above as examples handle it the same way; none of them refer to the subject as Jewish in the lede. While there may be a consensus to include the information in the article, there isn't one to put it in the lede and it's contrary to the way such information is handled in other similar articles, so I'm reverting that change. -- Vary Talk 15:44, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
According to your logic, you should have added that information into the 'personal section' and not removed it wholesale. I will go ahead and take care of that now. Magemirlen (talk) 16:07, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
You do that. What's with the attitude? -- Vary Talk 16:09, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
I'm sorry but I don't see what "attitude" you are referring to. Please avoid from making personal attacks such as saying I have an "attitude" as this violates WP:NPA. You made a point about the information being in the wrong section, but instead of moving it, you just erased it. I agreed with your original statement and made the corrective changes. Thanks though for pointing out that the personal section was the more appropriate place for the information. Please feel free to take up the matter in my talk page if you feel the need to address this further. Magemirlen (talk) 16:19, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
My point is that there's no 'should have' here. I'm under no obligation to move anything anywhere. I did nothing to prevent or discourage you from putting the information you wanted added to the article in the appropriate place. Phrases like 'according to your logic', 'just erased it' and 'removed it wholesale' seem to imply otherwise. That may not have been your intent, but the comment did come across as an accusation. -- Vary Talk 16:58, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
Why isn't Dona Branca's, Nicholas Cosmo's, or Allen Stanford's religion on their page at all? It seems inconsistent and unnecessary to include religion on con artists. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.234.193.222 (talk) 22:12, 17 February 2009 (UTC)
Please see above comments. 1) This has been explained ad nauseam and consensus has been formed (again, see above). 2) This is a standard on BLP pages. Even if it were not, it is specially relevant on this BLP page as numerous sources, that have been documented above and within the article, have commented on the effect the allegations have had on the Jewish community. This is seen as some as alleged affinity fraud. If you feel the need to go add to those pages you mentioned, feel free to do so. 3) You're comment "con artists" is a POV attack on the BLP in question. No allegation has been proven. This violates WP:BLP and has no bearing in this case. Magemirlen (talk) 02:54, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

Has this issue been resolved? I haven't checked in for a while. It seems silly to me to remove any reference to his religion. Question is degree of emphasis and whether it should go into the box at the top of the page. You also need to put in about Eli Wiesel, which was in the news today. --JohnnyB256 (talk) 23:27, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

You've all been arguing about whether the word Jew should be included in the article. Don't worry, from this discussion here, I already know it. LOL. Wikipedia, where common consensus rules supreme. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 79.72.17.91 (talk) 07:16, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

If all other's are mentioned along with their nationalities and religions attached to their demise than jews also must get their fair share. But we don't want to discriminate against jews. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.223.220.2 (talk) 12:41, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

I'd have to agree. I've visited the page prior to this story blowing up, and it featured the man's ethnicity prominently. Now almost all mention of his background has been removed, as if there was some coordinated effort to conceal this fact. This is a DISTURBING development to say the least, the cabal that engages in this type of manipulative and selective editing should be identified and removed. Koalorka (talk) 02:32, 15 March 2009 (UTC)


I realize that I am a newcomer to this article, but doesn't anyone think that the first paragraph of the Personal life section is a little redundant and blatant? Deyyaz [ Talk | Contribs ] 22:58, 1 April 2009 (UTC)


I corrected some of the parts vandalized by 66.146.146.43 and his/her likes. His/her hate speech here in the talk page is the best argumentation I could ever give for my edits. —Preceding unsigned comment added by PaulArctic (talkcontribs) 18:54, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

This seems to be a very heated topic, but in all honesty, his ethnicity played a tremendous factor in garnering the trust of his religious and ethnic community to coax many investors into the largest Ponzi scheme in history. I'd be terribly disappointed if all this fuss was simply about an ethnic group wanting to disassociate themselves from an infamous participant in their heritage. Every ethnicity and religion has characters which it would wish to forget, but it would be egregious to remove all ethnic ties simply because of negative views or stereotyping. This is history, and the facts should be clear. It would be no better to remove any reference to Hitler being Austrian or Ponzi being Italian. I encourage that his ethnicity be included and this page be locked from any further vandalism that attempts to remove this fact. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.114.56.205 (talk) 23:12, 11 May 2009 (UTC)

I can understand your point. There are two things:

(a) In general, there is a trend in Wikipedia towards classifying people by blood that I, for one, find simply disturbing. It is also completely out of line with all print encyclopaedias, except, of course, for self-proclaimed encyclopaedias whose aims are to glorify one particular group. "Ethnicity" is being used here not to mean some loose characterisation of a more or less ill-defined group of people who share a language or environment, but rather as a replacement for what before WWII would have erroneously been called a race.

It is especially disturbing to see tags and "Lists of X". Given how the policies of the Third Reich started - namely, by race laws - it is natural to have a particularly strong reaction when X=Jew (or X=Gypsy, I suppose); at the same time, the same case against these tags and lists can be made for any value of X, where X is apparently defined by blood rather than by an individual environment's or actions.

The same goes for what may be taken to be negative references or excessive references within the biography of an arguably contemptible man: they have more power to disturb, but what is wrong about them is probably wrong about uncalled-for positive references as well.

(b) At the same time, keeping only references to somebody's so-called ethnicity if somebody is a very nice man is arguably a case of systemic bias. This is particularly so if this tendency holds more for some values of X than others (say, again, X = Jew).

My personal view is that the trend in (a) should and will be reversed, but that will be a gradual process. In the meantime, perhaps we should use this opportunity to think critically about the matter.

The case of Madoff is actually almost too interesting to be a perfect test case. We are not talking simply about somebody whose parents happened to be of a particular religion (or whose great-grandparents presumably spoke a particular language or languages). Madoff was very active in Jewish communal organisations and belonged to clubs whose exclusiveness was in part a specifically Jewish exclusiveness (in that they were clubs for people who regarded each other as Jews) but not a particularly Jewish exclusiveness (other clubs and other old-boy networks are just as exclusive, and there are many more of them). Finally, Madoff presumably used religious and familiar ties not just to deceive others directly, but also to make people trust in him to the extent of becoming willing or unwitting accomplices in his plans. Thus, mentioning the entire ethnic thing only in the context of victimhood doesn't make sense.

For the while being, we could simply rewrite the first couple of sentences of Madoff's biography in such a way that he is no longer *defined* by his parentage; we can then make sure that his actions are still fully *described* whether or not they include a religious or "ethnic" component. Feketekave (talk) 10:12, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

Feketekave, mentioning ethnicity in a family section/early life section ect. is pretty "standard" as far a bios go. Not sure what the problem is or why one would remove it and the category. Also, as a point of order, can we please keep this talk page limited to how to improve the article and not have it be a forum for wider ethnicity discussions ect. Anyways, what do others think? Thanks, --Tom (talk) 15:13, 15 May 2009 (UTC)


First thing I noticed about this was the odd "Jewish" in front of "former businessman" in the first sentence. Aside from his name and birthday, his Jewishness is the FIRST THING COMMUNICATED. Jumped off the page at me. The personal section communicates his Jewish ethnicity perfectly fine. I removed the adjective.Biasedbulldog (talk) 04:39, 24 May 2009 (UTC)


I have made an edit to include Madoff's Jewish ethnicity in the lead. I refer to WP:MOSBIO which states that referring to ethnicity in the lead should be avoided, except where relevant to the subject's notability. In this case the Jewish community has been directly affected by Madoff's actions, and his ethnicity is directly relevant to this.

See this article for an example - Madoff Wall Street fraud threatens Jewish philanthropy. "One charity already closed and insiders are worried that the ramifications of Madoff's financial demise may extend to the many organizations he supported and the wealthy Jews he advised"

I welcome some constructive debate on this matter.

Beganlocal (talk) 18:49, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

First of all, his nationality, American, is supposed to be stated. Second of all, the sentence "Bernie Madoff is a Jewish American etc." doesn't tell me why the ethnicity is notable. If you want, you should put a sentence summarizing some of the things you stated above somewhere in the lead. All Hallow's Wraith (talk) 22:19, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
Thank you for your edit and comments. I think it is certainly notable that the Jewish community were directly affected by his fraud, however they are not the only victims. I will try to make the appropriate edits to the lead, and would be grateful for feedback. I am new at WP. Beganlocal (talk) 09:44, 27 May 2009 (UTC)

Well, it looks like FurtiveAdmirer or a like-minded soul has been busy at work on this article again. All mention of Madoff's ethnicity has been removed. It is obvious that these people are not editors, but rather censors who will go to great lengths to prevent people from getting access to certain kinds of information.Shiresman (talk) 16:23, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

It's crazy how some of you people will do everything you can to make sure it's not known that he's Jewish... and with the silliest reasons ever! I've seen TONS of articles on wikipedia that say that a certain famous person is of Jewish ethnicity, whether it be successful mathematicians, scientists, etc. You know... positive things to be associated with. In this case, his ethnicity is directly related to the information since many of his cons were performed at Jewish clubs.99.255.196.199 (talk) 11:09, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

No, it's in the article. I agree there could be more indicating that there was much affinity fraud, if not in this one than in the article on his fraud.--JohnnyB256 (talk) 15:11, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
Here's what's in the article: "Madoff's family was of the Jewish faith." aka dancing around the truth. There's zero mention of affinity fraud. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.255.196.199 (talk) 01:53, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
So add or suggest a section on affinity fraud. Bellyaching about the lack of a Jewish emphasis isn't constructive, because that has already been talked to death. --JohnnyB256 (talk) 02:05, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
It will no doubt be removed. If one can't even mention directly that he is Jewish and how it relates to the fraud in the introduction, how can one devote an entire section on why his Jewishness is relevant? It's like asking someone to go to the moon when he isn't even allowed to fly. The most that seems to be allowed is that it's mentioned that he's Jewish in the madoff investment scandal article, which is a much more obscure article compared to this one, and it's not even listed on Google when you search for "madoff wiki", which is what most people would search for. I guess I'll accept this amount of censorship by the Jewish internet community.99.255.196.199 (talk) 03:39, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
I am against labelling Jews. I am against labelling blacks, hispanics, and Catholics. I do not see the need to categorise people in this way when it is not relevant to how they lived their life. However, this is one of the very few articles in which I believe it is relevant. The affinity fraud angle.
Unfortunately there appears to be a cabal of editors who are in favour of creating Jewish categories and adding "Jewish" descriptors in biography ledes for no other reason than to "claim" an individual who is perceived as successful. Sportspeople, musicians, chess players, scientists - all Jewish. Sometimes articles reach a consensus which is reasonable, others unreasonable. The same WP:CABAL appears to believe it is anti-semetic to apply "Jewish labelling" to criminals who are notable in part for their Jewishness while arguing in favour of removing the labelling where it is not notable, from the Jewish Astronauts etc.
One editor opined
I am sickened by the rankly anti-Semitic nature of this individual's edits. To recap: he worked long and hard to accentuate the uniquely Jewish nature of Madoff and other's criminal activities. But when that was soundly rebuffed by the community, he set about seeking to expunge from Wikipedia all categories related to positive contributions by Jews in various fields. Only Jews as criminals and con artists appears to satisfy his prejudices.
The prejudices of the other WP:CABAL appear only to be satisfied by Jews as entertainers, explorers, scientists, statesmen, etc but not as criminals or bankers. Interestingly we no longer have Category:Jewish Bankers but you dare not nominate Category:Jewish Sportspeople - you will be labelled a nazi if you do! We have all the other professions, but not banking, because that associates Jews with an ugly racial stereotype. I am against categorising Jewish bankers as I am against Jewish astronauts, but believe the rule should be applied across the board.
So it is mentioned in the lede where irrelevant, and censored when it is part of notability - the opposite of the guidelines. That appears to be the mentality here - typical of a "democracy". To be fair there is some progress on the more egregious examples, however you ought to just give up on Madoff - the powers that be have decided that Jewish fraudsters (and indeed Jewish bankers) do not exist. Beganlocal (talk) 08:32, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
As you know, there are a lot of articles out there that have unnecessary ethnic labeling. In this one, the article has waffled between unnecessary labeling and ignoring totally the ethnic aspect of his crime. We tend to get caught up in side issues, like whether his ethnicity should be in the infobox, and in generalized discussions over whether the article is "Jewish" enough. The result is that we overlook really important issues like the affinity fraud character of much of his fraud, which has been widely reported. My suggestion is that we focus on that and not get involved in a fruitless discussion of whether editors are conspiring to keep this article Judenrein. It just will tee off people and result in nothing being done. I agree that the Jewish character of the fraud is underweighted, but it's just going to make it harder to improve the article if this kind of heated argument continues, especially when people use ethnic terminology that may be misconstrued.--JohnnyB256 (talk) 13:52, 29 July 2009 (UTC)
Well, I changed a sentence describing his family being of Jewish faith to one that was less vague: Madoff is Jewish-American. This change was immediately reverted by a user who cited ruined grammar and a bad source (ABC News is not a bad source- do we need scientific journals to prove that he is Jewish?). I will fight for this little change just out of principle. I do not want Wikipedia to be censored because of the hidden agendas of certain groups99.255.196.199 (talk) 22:50, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Smallbones' edit. We don't ordinarily say what people's religion happens to be in articles about criminals (try to find "Bernard Ebbers is a Protestant-American" in his article. Madoff's ethnicity has some relevancy because of the affinity fraud aspects of his crime, but instead of adding text on that neglected issue we keep getting involved in fruitless discussions on how strongly we want to definitively declare Madoff's ethnicity. It is indeed a sensitive subject and I think it is properly handled in the language Smallbones is utilizing, and which has been the settled wording for quite a while.--JohnnyB256 (talk) 00:56, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
I don't think you read the revision history correctly then. Smallbones reverted my change from "Madoff is a Jewish-American" to "Madoff's family was of the Jewish faith." He did so with the comment "all you did was ruin the grammer and change the source from a good one to a not so good one". This was obviously not true so I re-entered my revision. He proceeded to revert it again, this time stating "ethnicity is a touchy issue, but has been very well discussed". This demonstrates dishonesty in his original reasoning for reverting my change. There was absolutely NOTHING wrong with my change. Tell me what rule I broke with the revision. The source he reverted back to isn't even linked properly! Ethnicity has not been well-discussed at all in the article. It has been well-discussed in the discussion section, but there is no mention of it in the main article except the reference to his "family being of Jewish faith", which is a vague statement if I've ever seen one. If you're going to allow a statement like that, why not have a more comprehensible, clear statement on his ethnicity/religion? Either disallow any reference to his ethnicity or allow the revision, because right now it looks like a clear attempt at unnecessary political correctness, and does not reflect well on Wikipedia. Also, judging from the discussion that you can view yourself, it's clear that the wording on his ethnicity has been changed and gradually erased from this article from a certain cadre of Wiki editors. That's why it has been the settled wording- because they've been hellbent on removing any references to his ethnicity in this article. I see no reason for you to agree on his attempts to mask ethnicity in the article.02:47, 12 August 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.255.196.199 (talk)
Also, you don't think that we don't mention religion in articles about criminals? Well, I don't see how that's relevant because most of us are talking about ethnicity, and it's what people have been arguing about anyway. Check the articles for Unabomber, Frank Abagnale, Jack Abramoff, Miss Cleo (listed under American fraudsters and is described as "black"), Mary Butterworth, Lakireddy Reddy, etc. I could go on and on. You and I both know that the only reason that ethnicity is hardly allowed to be discussed in this article is because a certain cadre of Wiki editors refuse to allow it to be. Based on the many other unopposed examples on Wikipedia, it should be mentioned. Based on common sense, it should be mentioned. Based on relevance, it should be mentioned. But it has been reduced to a vague, 7-word sentence on this article because some people here just can't handle it being mentioned for their own odd reasons.99.255.196.199 (talk) 02:56, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
I'm opposed to mentioning the ethnicity of criminals unless relevant to their notability. In this case, his ethnicity certainly is notable because of the affinity fraud aspects of his crimes, which are neglected partly because we spend so much time in absurd semantic arguments like this. Ethnicity, particularly regarding Madoff, is indeed a sensitive subject and Smallbones' wording makes the point about Madoff's religion adequately. Nobody is going to come away from reading this article thinking he is anything but Jewish. We don't have to tattoo a Jewish star on his arm, for heaven's sake. --JohnnyB256 (talk) 03:50, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
Alright, I'm glad we can settle on a minor affinity fraud section, with the main investment scandal article providing more detailed information. I'm not looking to emphasize ethnicity in criminal-related articles, but I also don't condone unnecessary censorship on Wikipedia.99.255.196.199 (talk) 01:55, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

Rot in jail phrase[edit]

I removed the bit about the victims recommending to the judge that Madoff "rot in jail". That phrase is not encyclopedic. Unless it is an actual quote by specific defendants (and a reference can be provided), I suggest writing "receive a life sentence" or words to that effect. Nojamus (talk) 19:18, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

How many victims[edit]

Like does it say how many victims or a list of who his victims were? I can't find any information on this. Any help would be great. And is it also true he scammed actresses and rich white women and widows? 24.188.204.121 (talk) 01:20, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

First line[edit]

Madoff "is a former Jewish American financier and convicted felon." This line leaves a really bad taste in my mouth. Madoff's Jewishness is certainly important enough to be in the lede-- it played a major part in his swindle-- but in the first line, like this? It comes off as almost anti-Semitic. Plus, it's a little ambiguous. Was he formerly Jewish, formerly American, or formerly a financier? And was he formerly a convicted felon?

The first thing mentioned should be what he's done, as that what he's best known for (and deserves to be remembered for). Nationality is OK. So I propose something like, "Bernie Madoff is an American financial criminal who operated a Ponzi scheme called the largest investor fraud...." etc., then add stuff about his having once been a respected financier and that he's Jewish, etc.

What do people think? Tyuia (talk) 18:26, 27 August 2009 (UTC)

You're absolutely right. This has been discussed repeatedly, and the consensus is that his religion should be mentioned but not in the lead. Certainly not in the first line. A determined IP editor seems to be the culprit. --JohnnyB256 (talk) 20:16, 27 August 2009 (UTC)
Perfectly acceptable. He is Jewish and many of his victims were Jews and Jewish charities. I find it relevant to the topic at hand. --Zaferk (talk) 01:44, 19 October 2009 (UTC)
That is fine. Consensus seems to be for NON inclusion in the LEAD sentence however. --Tom (talk) 12:28, 19 October 2009 (UTC)

Recent review[edit]

I haven't seriously looked at this page in a while, but tried to do a clean-up today. The result: there's not much that needed cleaning. I'm particularly impressed that almost all the footnotes look to be in a reasonable format.

One minor problem - there is no mention (that I saw) that he is Jewish until the affinity fraud section. Given all of the above back and forth ... well I won't put it back in, but could somebody please check me on this and put one mention in the personal section?

Another thought - is anybody interested in getting this into shape for a Good Article or even a Featured article? If we get it to FA, we might even get TFA on the main page for Dec. 11. It would be a lot of work, team-work, but probably worth it for some. Smallbones (talk) 20:57, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

I fixed most of the footnotes several days ago. I'm shocked that editors have no idea how to cite references. Anyway, I believe the article needs a new section on how the SEC botched the investigation. A report was recently issued about this with many news articles covering it.Mysteryquest (talk) 21:02, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
Thank you very, very much. You're right on all counts. Smallbones (talk) 21:06, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

Government[edit]

The second last paragraph in "Government Access" is repetitious and disjointed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.180.182.155 (talk) 10:51, 9 December 2009 (UTC) I can't do much about it as I am an anon. and the article is protected. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 87.74.1.47 (talk) 14:23, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

Needs Layman's Summary[edit]

Article sounds very technical too soon. Needs a summary such that 'any fool' can get the picture of this guy. The technical/legal way this is article is worded is a real put off for a reader who is not familiar with this person to gain any interest. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Preroll (talkcontribs) 20:39, 3 February 2010 (UTC)


I feel this article comes off with a too negative bias towards Madoff. In the introduction his crime should be a sentence or two at most. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.17.164.245 (talk) 15:08, 20 June 2010 (UTC)

Madoff release date[edit]

I don't know how to edit Wikipedia pages, but if you look up Madoff's information on the BOP Inmate Locator, it says he has a release date of 14 Nov 2139, not 2159. http://www.bop.gov/iloc2/LocateInmate.jsp This is not inconsistent with his 150 year sentence, even though there is no parole in the federal system, because inmates still get 15% good time, which accounts for the 20 year discrepancy. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 128.163.50.82 (talk) 18:18, 26 May 2010 (UTC)

Fixed. Mcavic (talk) 02:56, 25 June 2010 (UTC)

Incarceration[edit]

There is a lengthy piece on Madoff's life in prison by the New York magazine at Bernie Madoff, Free at Last. The current incarceration section needs to be expanded.Smallman12q (talk) 23:03, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

Done (but not using the source you gave). --Ted87 (talk) 00:37, 22 June 2010 (UTC)
While the current Incarceration section is kind of interesting, it's not encyclopedic. Too much detail about who he plays bocce with, what he watches on TV, and who he writes to. Bro2baseball (talk) 06:46, 12 July 2010 (UTC)
he "hangs out with..." is that sort of term appropriate for an encyclopedia?--Jrm2007 (talk) 21:38, 14 August 2010 (UTC)
IMO, no not at all. Trimmed as much tabloid titillation as I was able. Off2riorob (talk) 21:40, 14 August 2010 (UTC)

Book: "The Club No-One Wanted To Join"[edit]

Suggest it could be mentioned in the article. It is the stories of 29 of his victims. Proceeds to his victims. Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Wanted-Join-Madoff-Victims-Their-Words/dp/0982250932/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1289550832&sr=8-1

There's also a humorous look at the latest (as of this writing) auction of his stuff here: http://www.loweringthebar.net/2010/11/buy-some-of-bernie-madoffs-stupid-crap-this-weekend.html Perhaps mention of some of the oddities in his personal assets also rates a mention in the article? Mark Whybird (talk) 23:39, 12 November 2010 (UTC)

No really a philanthropist[edit]

The article calls him a philanthropist which is not true. He merely pretended to be one, but in hind sight he was doing good with stolen money and only doing it in order to make contact with rich people whose money he could steal. This is not what philanthropy is. It's like saying a man used to be a doctr because he pretended to be a doctor. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 12.169.227.81 (talk) 16:23, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

Penalty[edit]

The number in the box on the right as "Penalty" seems to be too low. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.177.251.202 (talk) 13:51, 18 December 2010 (UTC)

'To the tune'??[edit]

This phrase in the opening kills the legitimacy of this article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.17.108.249 (talk) 00:33, 23 April 2011 (UTC)

Mark Madoff[edit]

Should Mark Madoff have his own page/article ... as opposed to simply a redirect to this article? Any thoughts? Thanks. (Joseph A. Spadaro (talk) 05:42, 12 December 2010 (UTC))

Well, I find it a bit frusterating that the redirect goes right to Bernard Madoff instead of a sub-section within the article. At the very least, Mark should have a section in the Bernard article. Geeky Randy (talk) 01:04, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
Agreed, I find it not very useful, it seems like he should get his own article and be linked out from the Bernie Madoff article, especially after the investigation ruled his death a suicide, we have far more minor sons and daughters of famous folk with their own articles after drug overdoses and the like. --Rarian rakista (talk) 05:08, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
Yes I think so too. I don't know a lot about Mark Madoff, but from what I have seen on the news, yes that qualifies for an article. Telemachus.forward (talk) 04:35, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
A person should only have their own article if they are independently notable. I don't see any notability in any of Madoff's family members other than their suspected involvement in Madoff's frauds. Jim Michael (talk) 21:42, 20 December 2010 (UTC)
I think that being an accomplice (alleged or otherwise) in the biggest Ponzi scheme in history makes him notable. Thanks. (Joseph A. Spadaro (talk) 20:32, 28 December 2010 (UTC))
Also just a note. There is no such thing as "Wharton University". Its the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 151.197.202.216 (talk) 21:20, 25 May 2011 (UTC)

Why is Mark's suicide not mentioned? I think this is pretty relevant to the entire Madoff drama. He committed suicide exactly 2 years after his fathers arrest.

Federal investigators believe the fraud began as early as the 1970s: The source does not say so[edit]

"federal investigators believe the fraud began as early as the 1970s"

This is not what is written in the source cited.

Here is the relevant sentence:

"His misconduct may have stretched back to at least the 1970s, two people familiar with the government’s inquiry of Madoff said last week."

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=awmAWSxKpXRM&refer=home

Please also note the date of publication: Dec.23 2008, i.e. less than 2 weeks after his arrest.

Gatorinvancouver (talk) 23:13, 30 May 2011 (UTC)

media[edit]

Huw and Bob and written a song called Bernies Blues which can be seen and heard on youtube — Preceding unsigned comment added by 82.11.213.153 (talk) 13:48, 7 June 2011 (UTC)

Edit request from , 20 October 2011[edit]

{{edit semi-protected}} Under Incarceration heading, add:

In his letter to his daughter-in-law, Madoff claimed that he was being treated in prison like a "Mafia don. They call me either Uncle Bernie or Mr. Madoff. I can't walk anywhere without someone shouting their greetings and encouragement, to keep my spirit up. It's really quite sweet, how concerned everyone is about my well being, including the staff...It's much safer here than walking the streets of New York."

Source: http://abcnews.go.com/US/mafia-don-bernie-madoffs-boastful-letter-angry-daughter/story?id=14777562 Newsboyron (talk) 19:52, 20 October 2011 (UTC)

Done, in accord with the principle of WP:BRD.  Chzz  ►  07:53, 22 October 2011 (UTC)

New data revealed in the NYT today Dec11-2011[edit]

Clearly the article needs revision. I have no desire to do it but here is the link for those who want to: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/11/business/bernie-madoffs-lasting-shadow-3-years-after-his-arrest.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha25 Gatorinvancouver (talk) 20:44, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

Need cite for victims list[edit]

Someone edited the list of victims (adding Transylvania University), and checking that for vandalism, I discovered that the reference link was to a completely irrelevant article. So I deleted the reference and added a "cite needed". Here's the WSJ list [37] and the full Madoff client list.[38]. I don't have time for a full crosscheck right now. --John Nagle (talk) 19:07, 31 December 2011 (UTC)

There's a NY Times list as well you might check, but I suspect all these lists are getting a bit out of date, would need extremely thorough checking (by professional journalists) to become really reliable. It brings to mind that there are 5-10 Madoff side articles here, e.g. List of investors in Bernard L. Madoff Securities, which are also probably extremely out of date. Anybody interested in some really grungy hard work? What else to do with them? Perhaps merge them (out of existence) back here? Any suggestions welcome. Smallbones (talk) 20:42, 31 December 2011 (UTC)
The Madoff trustee received 16,519 claims as of December 30, 2011.[39]. About 11,000 were denied as third-party claims (investors in "feeder funds" have to sue them), but they all represent losses. I'd go with the WSJ and NYT lists, as WP:RS, rather than digging through court documents. --John Nagle (talk) 05:48, 1 January 2012 (UTC)

First sentence[edit]

This page is locked so I can't make the change myself:

is a former American businessman, stockbroker, investment advisor, and financier.

Someone should change that to:

is an American former businessman, stockbroker, investment advisor, and financier.

(Or provide a citation that he's been stripped of his citizenship)

Alterantives?:

is a former businessman, stockbroker, investment advisor, and financier who operated in the United States. is a former businessman, stockbroker, investment advisor, and financier. 209.195.113.28 (talk) 19:43, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done Jim Michael (talk) 05:07, 26 October 2012 (UTC)