A Man named Madoff

by Kristina on January 3, 2011 · 3 comments

Unfortunately we have seen our share of financial scandals, money mistakes, corporation mismanagement, and financial crisis’s over these past few years.  However, it is good to know that hopefully the innocent financial victims of Bernard Madoff may soon be getting some money. CNN Money recently published an article titled “Madoff victims could soon get billions.”  The article discusses Madoff’s upcoming court date and the hopes of recovering the billions of dollars that he stole from innocent investors.

From the outside Bernard Madoff looks like every other wealth management professional I know. He is a relevantly good looking man with a nice smile and an even nicer power business suit. If I didn’t know better, I would think that he was a financial god send, not a lying scam artist.  I could have easily been a victim of Madoff, just as many people were.  Therefore, I take pleasure knowing that his victims may soon receive part of their fortunes back. Many people lost billions of dollars to this man who is a disgrace to the human race, and also a disgrace to the financial services industry.

I take personal offense when I hear stories about financial fraud because I work as a Personal Financial Planner in the financial services industry.  Personal relationships and trust are a major part of my job. Of course my education, knowledge, and advice play a major part in my role as a Personal Financial Planner. However, no one is going to care about my university degree or listen to what I have to say if they don’t trust me.  Whether we are talking about our relationship with our personal banker or our family relationships, people take trust for granted.  I think the world would be a much better place if we all valued other’s people trust a little bit more.

Bernard Madoff is a man who stole over $20 billion dollars from every day investors. Since his arrest in 2008 lawyers and investigators have been trying to locate and pay back the several billion dollars that Madoff stole from everyday people.  The only thing worse than someone stealing money from other people, is when they get to keep it.  “Unrecovered funds” are very common in financial scandals.  HELLO!?!?  Look in the Cayman Islands, or Bermuda…I am sure you can find the money trail somewhere.

Madoff is set to appear in court on January 13, at this time hopefully some of his stolen money will be recovered and returned to his financial fraud victims.  In my opinion, getting their money back is only the beginning of the path to recovery for the Madoff victims. These people are going to have trust issues for the rest of their lives.  They will forever question the motives of their family and friends, along with anyone else who tries to come into their lives.

When we do something bad to people, such as steal their life savings, we have to remember that he is someone’s Dad or she is someone’s Sister.  The repercussions for these victims will go far beyond the day that they lost all of their life savings to a man named Madoff.

(Photo by combust)

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Gene Barrion January 6, 2011 at 2:58 pm

Hello Kristina,
Trust is the most important thing.What Madoff has done is unforgivable.So many people lost their lifetime savings .Its really shameful.Victims of Madoff have mixed feelings about settlement.
Click here

2 Bret @ Hope to Prosper January 10, 2011 at 6:56 pm

The Madoffs and Stanfords may make the news, because of the huge amounts of money they stole. But, this happens all of the time on a smaller level to regional customers. IMHO the financial services industry deserves a big black eye, because they don’t regulate their members effectively.

It would be so easy to require bonding, annual audits or a third-party servicer to reduce the temptation for an advisor to co-mingle customer deposits. Yet, FINRA has not required any meaningful accountability from advisors, despite all of the ongoing fraud.

I don’t think a customer should ever have to “trust” an advisor with their life savings. I believe a customer’s deposits should be secured by the industry or another third-party, like they are required to do by law in a bank or a mutual fund.

3 Kristina January 11, 2011 at 1:48 am

Trust is definitely a major part of any relationship, especially when it involves money! In Canada securities advisors are bonded, is it not a requirement in the US?

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