The biggest financial fraud in history continues to slowly unravel in an unusual way. The strange case of Bernie Madoff becomes only more bizarre with each passing day.
This strange case actually started with Bernie Madoff outing himself. As a result, there is no sense in talking about the $50 billion dollar Madoff Ponzi scheme as an "alleged" fraud, when the main allegations about the crime actually come from the person who will eventually be the defendant in the case.
Soon after his arrest, Bernie Madoff's bail was set at $10 million dollars with the requirement of 4 co-signers on the bond but Madoff could not get four people in the entire world to sign his bail bond.
So, he did not meet the conditions of his bail. However, his punishment for not making bail has certainly been strange. Madoff was not sent to jail but only confined to his palatial apartment at 133 East 64th Street.
As a result, its very odd that while the U.S. Congress and prosecutors sort out the greatest financial hoax in history, the mastermind of the Ponzi Scheme continues to enjoy a life of luxury made possible by his fraud.
Its also strange that while the government searches for an accounting of $50 billion missing dollars, that Bernie Madoff has the ability to continue to access personal records and computers that may become important to the fraud investigation.
Madoff's Ponzi scheme ripped off widows and orphans, philanthropies, rich people, global banks and hedge funds. It is strange that one man managed to steal $50 billion dollars for decades from some of the most sophisticated financial people and institutions in the world within the confines of the regulated environment of financial investments.
Certainly, it is strange that starting in 1992, federal regulators on at least eight different occasions examined various aspects of Bernard Madoff's business operations and never turned up anything about the $50 billion Ponzi scheme that led to Madoff's arrest last month.
Bernie Madoff showed up last week at a bail hearing wearing a bullet proof vest. The bail hearing was called because Madoff was in violation of a condition of his bail agreement not to dispose of any of his assets.
Sadly, it was discovered that sixteen watches, including diamond-encrusted timepieces from Tiffany and Cartier, four diamond brooches, two sets of cuff links, and an emerald ring were sent to Madoff's sons and brother. The value of the jewelry was estimated to be more than one million dollars.
The result of the bail hearing once again did not send Bernie Madoff to jail. He was again ordered to return to the comfort of his $7 million dollar penthouse apartment. Even though it may be hard to believe, this story is not bad fiction. Unfortunately, the strange case of Bernie Madoff is reality TV.