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December 15th, 2008
12:12 PM ET

Madoff investor: "Will I ever see any of my money again?"

Andy Serwer
Managing editor FORTUNE

Now that the Madoff fraud has been exposed there are still a slew of fundamental questions outstanding.

How did one man, Bernard Madoff, run such a massive, self-described Ponzi scheme? Is it really true no one else was involved? How much money has really been lost? Is it $50 billion? And even if it is only several billion, how does someone burn through that much cash? Where did it go?

And then there's the heart-breaking question one of my elderly neighbors - a Madoff investor - asked me: "Will I ever see any of my money again?"

I have no idea, I told her sadly, maybe you'll get some, but you should assume that it's all gone.

Of course there are thousands of stories like my neighbor's. It's outrageous that someone like Bernard Madoff - a former NASDAQ chairman - could operate such a vast conspiracy right under the noses of the regulators.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • Andy Serwer • Bailout Turmoil
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Chris I

    This is another example of 'catch me if you can " episode of Wall Street!! Sometimes you wonder how many more of these wizzards are gonna surface in the future with endless ways of creating mechanisms of fraud ,because the Wall Street Laboratories as they should be called, have created these financial monsters , that have the ability to do this.Next step is to bail this guy out , because he needs.... moral support !!

    December 15, 2008 at 5:57 pm |
  2. Marg Anne Locke

    With millions of hard-working Americans losing their homes,jobs, pensions; for some strange reason I don't have much sympathy for those who invested hundreds of thousands of dollars – if not millions – and are looking to get that money back. Some people just want a job to go to and a roof over the head of their family.

    December 15, 2008 at 5:32 pm |
  3. Heather,ca

    Oh Andy I miss seeing you on CNN on a regular basis, but I enjoy reading your articles in my magazine. I guess you could say its been the year of the ponzi scam. The first being the biggest one in the history of modern time starting here with the subprime mortgage and the rest and now this guy. All I can say is I would never let anyone not working with a reputable investment firm touch my money. This should have never happened. I dont care how wealthy you are. Having your hard earned money basically stolen from you, the loss is the same regardless of who you are. No matter who you are the loss of money through fraud is the same. Its terrible.

    December 15, 2008 at 5:02 pm |
  4. Diane N.

    How is it that people can so blindly invest their money?? It's been reported that these people for 3 years had no idea where their money was. How can that be?? What ever happened to the buyer beware adage? That doesn't just count for shoes and electrical appliances. I mean really.

    December 15, 2008 at 4:41 pm |
  5. JC- Los Angeles

    In the fraudulent decimation of America by endless morally bankrupt leaders, executives and politicians, what stands as most alarming is the dearth of stories about people who didn't partake in questionable behavior.

    It's as if the media has had a terrible time trying to find one solid citizen; Tom Brokaw eloquently depicted the greatest generation, unfortunately, today's hacks represent the worst.

    December 15, 2008 at 1:42 pm |
  6. Cindy

    I just don't see how people didn't realize sooner that Madoff was running a huge scam. Did they not keep up with their money? I mean just because someone says that all is going great doesn't mean you believe them and don't keep up with your portfolio. Besides, when something seems too good to be true 99% of the time it is.

    Cindy...Ga.

    December 15, 2008 at 1:06 pm |
  7. Michelle

    How did this stay under the radar. Someone other than his
    own sons should have been able to detect the Ponzi.

    December 15, 2008 at 12:40 pm |
  8. Annie Kate

    I feel for your neighbor. I hope she gets at least some of her money back. Surely the whole 50 billion can't be gone?

    I don't invest except my 401K and then I stay with the company my employer has hired to manage the 401K for them. And I thought the SEC would be sure that everything was kosher in all the big funds going on so how they slipped up on Madoff's fund perplexes me. Will anyone from the SEC take accountability for not catching this scam? It would still be going on if Madoff had not confessed to his sons what he was doing.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    December 15, 2008 at 12:27 pm |
  9. Michael Odegard

    I wonder if this is just the beginning of a series of such scandals. Bernard Madoff can't be the only money manager who figured this kind of scam.

    December 15, 2008 at 12:21 pm |