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Sat

04

Apr

2009

Is confessed Ponzi scheme swindler Bernie Madoff a front man for the Mafia?
Saturday, 04 April 2009 10:41
by Sherwood Ross

This is a speculation, but an interesting one supported by numerous facts, points out Lawrence Velvel, dean of the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover, one of the thousands of investors that was taken in by the Wall Street fraudster
"Rather than cooperate with authorities to lighten an anticipated stiff sentence, Madoff refuses to talk about how he made perhaps $200 billion “disappear into thin air. One might ordinarily think that Madoff might cooperate in tracing the money if, in return, his time in the slammer would be knocked down to, say, five or six years in return for leading the Feds to recovery of monies that might make victims whole or close to it.”
In five or six years he will only be 75 or 76.

Velvel notes the usual explanation for Madoff’s non-cooperation is that “he is trying to protect his family and the secreted money” but the real reason could conceivably be that “he knows that if he talks he’ll never live to get out of the slammer…alive” and if he did “his life wouldn’t be worth a plugged nickel after because he will soon end up in the river.”

“A very logical possibility is that at least scores of billions, if not as much as $150 billion or more (that Madoff stole), were siphoned off by the Mafia,” Velvel says, emphasizing that the Mafia connection remains “speculation.”

Prompting the Mafia scenario, though, is the fact that “billions” raked in by Madoff have literally vanished with no trace. “Difficulty of tracing would seem to be a hallmark of organized crime, wouldn’t it?” Velvel asks.

Another clue pointing to a Mafia connection is that the government filed papers with Madoff’s judge saying that Madoff had promised some people returns as high as 46 percent. “Dig that — -46 percent,” Velvel writes. “Now who the hell would you promise 46 percent to except gangsters? That kind of earnings rate just isn’t promised to people unless something is very wrong — -as when organized crime might be financing you at usurious, exorbitant rates.”


“And why else,” Velvel continued, “except to keep organized crime satisfied lest his legs be broken at best or, worse, he be found in a concrete barrel at the bottom of the East River,” would Madoff have said he ‘felt compelled to satisfy my clients expectations at any cost?’ It sounds like a Mafia deal to me.”

Velvel also recalled that in 1992 when Madoff was under Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) suspicion as a Ponzi scheme swindler he allegedly coughed up $450 million very quickly, and asks: “Where did he (Madoff) get such a huge sum so quickly to ward off an SEC finding of a Ponzi scheme? Organized crime would be a logical possibility, would it not?”

Velvel also raised questions about Madoff's employees on the "infamous 17th floor" who tended to be "uneducated persons without training or experience in finance," and who were paid much better than their lack of education might ordinarily have warranted. None of them ever talked, he said. “Where did Madoff get these people from,” Velvel asks.

Velvel writes the more one weighs the known evidence about Madoff’s operation, “the more likely it appears that the speculation could in fact be truth. One wonders: are the FBI and the U.S. Attorney considering and investigating the possibility that Madoff was an organized crime deal?”

Velvel, a former Justice Department attorney, is cofounder of the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover, a school purposefully dedicated to providing an affordable, quality education to students from minority, immigrant, and financial backgrounds that would otherwise be unable to obtain a legal education. Velvel has been cited as a leading reformer in the field of legal education by the National Jurist and honored for his contributions by The National Law Journal.

Reach Dean Velvel at velvel@mslaw.edu. Further information and to arrange for interviews, contact Sherwood Ross, Ross Associates, at sherwoodr1@yahoo.com
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