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Bernie Maddoff and the $65 Billion Ponzi Scheme

            On December 08, 2008, outside his Manhattan apartment, Bernie Madoff was arrested for the biggest financial scandal in history. Madoff ran a Ponzi scheme for nearly 20 years that amounted to $65 billion. Mr. Madoff persuaded high end investors to believe he could invest their money for a guaranteed fifteen percent return. Although this seemed nearly impossible to some, he had proven himself to many, including many prominent individuals like fashion designer Carl Shapiro and Hollywood director Stephen Spielburg. Later in March of 2009, Bernie Madoff was convicted, charged, and sentenced to 150 years in prison for security fraud, money laundering, and perjury at the federal level. There is no denying that the world was devastated and shocked that Mr. Madoff was exposed as a scandalous financial crook. For Bernie Madoff to instigate a Ponzi scheme of this magnitude, his infamous heist requires several important character traits: extensive knowledge, fearlessness for risk, and an absence of empathy for others' wellbeing.
             Madoff grew up and saw how easy it was to take advantage of other people's money. His parents, Ralph and Sylvia Madoff, ran a broker-dealer operation out of their home in Laureltown, Queens. Eventually it was shut down by the SEC due to "failure to file reports, " says Jerry Oppenheimer, author of "The Making of Madoff. " This was not a shock to any, as people say they weren't thought to be "honest people. " Although there is no excuse for Bernie's actions, he came by it naturally.
             Bernie was always a driven, risk-taker that always wanted more. In the summer of 1953, at the age of fifteen in Laureltown, Queens, he started his own business installing sprinkler systems. Madoff eventually gave up the sprinkler business and went on to college at University of Alabama, but quickly transferred after just one semester to Hofstra. He graduated from Hofstra in June 1960 with a Bachelor's in Political Science.

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