CW2023: Lessons still to be learned from Bernie Madoff scandal, author says

Jim Campbell CW2023

The Bernie Madoff scandal came to light 15 years ago, but lessons from the notorious Ponzi scheme are as fresh as ever, author Jim Campbell said.

Campbell, whose book “Madoff Talks” is the basis for a new Netflix docuseries he helped executive produce, gave an insider’s view of the fraudster during a Day 2 fireside chat at Compliance Week’s National Conference in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.

Madoff died in federal prison in 2021. He started his career as a highly respected market maker, investment adviser, and former chairman of the Nasdaq stock exchange. Alongside his legitimate business, he ran an illegal $64.8 billion Ponzi scheme from the 1970s until he was arrested in 2008.

In 2009, Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison for his crimes.

Madoff wasn’t just another market maker—he was a “go-to” adviser who revolutionized the Nasdaq, said Campbell when fireside chat moderator Michael Olver, managing director of risk consultancy Pacific Strategies & Assessments, asked if Madoff could be considered a financial genius.

The Ponzi scheme quietly grew into one of the biggest hedge funds in the world, operating under the radar by Madoff’s secretiveness and investors’ trust and naivete.

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