Mar

14

 I wonder if electronic interface and interaction within and among our economic, political, and social realms of globalization merely permits a greater (prism-like) spectrum of ingenuity and imagination during the course of individual and collective endeavors.

Case in point:

Madoff victims say jail a good start Submitted By The Associated Press Submitted on Friday, Mar. 13 at 10:37 am

BANGOR — A Bangor area couple who lost their life savings to Wall Street swindler Bernard Madoff say his being jailed Thursday was more justice than they expected, but far from enough.

Marcia Ellis says she and her husband, Martin, lost their savings in Madoff’s fraudulent Ponzi scheme that cheated investors out of at least $65 billion.

The 70-year-old Madoff was jailed Thursday in New York after pleading guilty on 11 counts. He faces up to 150 years in prison at his sentencing in June.

With their savings wiped out, Marcia Ellis is going back to school in preparation for a possible retirement job. Her husband just took a test to be a U.S. Census worker. She says she might go to New York to watch Madoff’s sentencing for “emotional closure.”

From a forensic analysis, it may be said that a primary distinction between Madoff and Ponzi is electronics.

The pain for this couple in the article may be as real as had Madoff physically stole their savings. The issue becomes the facility by which electronic mediums alter standards and practices, for example, whereby exemplar or illicit activity is enabled or condoned.

Be it Nintendo or snowball fights, positioning is elemental if not determinative. Madoff was playing a game too – he often called it “one big turf war.”

A reported scrapper from the onset of his career on the Street, Madoff came to appreciate position. Thus, for “setting up” his Ponzi scheme, he knew how to segregate his illegal and legal activities as well as overlay and parlay both to minimize risk and maximize value in his operations.

Was the rather “to good to be true” halo above Madoff so digitally enhanced that investors like The Ellis’s allowed their greed to intercede or precede the observance of standard investment protocols?

We all are taught to “never put all your eggs in one basket” while growing up. Victor reminded me of it in his first email to me.

The Ellis’s too thought that they were playing a game of position. They had a “good thing” as their investment with Madoff was selective, not available to most of us in society. Madoff was exclusive. One had to know someone, right?

People like the Ellis’s where, simply put, out-positioned by allowing their greed for “abnormal” investment profits to dictate deviation from industry standards and practices found in any accountant’s or attorney’s due diligence list.

Madoff knew that, and he “played” it. Compared to the first-to-third tier houses’ standard churn and burn, illegal shorting, and insider-outsider ploys constituting many a firm’s daily practices, perhaps, among those players, it would be said that BM “got game.”

If you read his five page allocution letter, what is most ingenious is the simplicity of his constructed nexus between the physical and electronic worlds. I saw statements from Madoff’s trading operations during the winter of 2006. He electronically papered his scheme successfully because of his expertise and his firms’ positioning. In sports, the winning combination, yes?

Perhaps younger generations, because they are playing Nintendo instead of having snowball fights, will be more attuned, more competent within our ever globalizing world of electronic exchange markets?

Certainly, on this fine day after Madoff’s slide into his new digs, one may so hope.


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2 Comments so far

  1. David Riffer on March 14, 2009 3:47 pm

    I agree that the essence of Madoff’s strategy wasn’t just to operate from a strong position. It was to give his victims a sense that they were operating from a uniquely strong position. This is characteristic of scams, but he seems to have been particularly good at it.

    In the end, it was really the system that caught him. The violent move down in global markets, leading to a wave of redemptions, shaking him out to cleanse the system, so that the great game could go on unencumbered by this particular shark. There is a certain elegance to it all.

  2. douglas roberts dimick on March 15, 2009 4:41 pm

    DR, elegance is a great word here… agreed.

    One wonders how many levels and, therefore, to what degrees will be required to “backwash” the system?

    Russ’s recent article on FAS 157 introduces a platform-level issue that appears to be morphing as national and regional economies “globalize” — however one cares to define that.

    I wrote this article as a result of receiving Madoff’s allocution letter from my 15 year friend and associate in Florida. He is a consultant to government agencies and law firms on securities matters.

    Did you know the number and size of (illegal shorting) law suits filed against the very securities firms now going out of business? Damages claimed appear to approach approximations as to the size of the crisis.

    Securities firms in this country have enjoyed decades of charmed (insider) lifestyles – take a look at common folks 401K’s to gage just how much they have profiteered. One would ask why they would risk it all in this past decade with the derivative con game – apparent variations of a Ponzi scheme, complementing or corresponding to aspects of national monetary and fiscal policies.

    Was Clinton’s 11th hour repeal of Glass-Steagall about globalization or a chance to clean out the safe before the day of reckoning arrived in court for the trillions of dollars of illegal shorting operated throughout the backoffices of most US securities firms for the past 20 twenty years?

    Such a line of questioning is eventually ambushed as being Stone-like conspiracy theory. Still, one may find the timing of it all interesting relative to the sequence and combinations of rule changes. No more than a month after the first Olympic Games held in a Communist Country, half of the world’s wealth evaporates in six months time.

    We are presented with connections that offer more than mere daily speculations… Hence, I continue to work the problem… dr

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