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January 5th, 2009
06:04 PM ET

Don't blame the SEC

Allan Sloan
Fortune

Yes, there really are times when life imitates art. A case in point: the Bernie Madoff scandal, in which the disgraced investor bears a startling resemblance to Zero Mostel's sleazy theater promoter in one of my favorite flicks, "The Producers."

What do the real-life Madoff and Mostel's fictional Max Bialystock have in common? They used the same principles to pull off a big-time financial fraud. These are: If you're going to steal, steal big. If you're going to cook the books, make up numbers of your own – don't try to doctor the real ones. And, finally, if you're going to fleece people, turn down enough potential investors so that those whose money you take feel so honored that they don't do basic homework to find out about you.

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Filed under: Finance • Wall St.
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Annie Kate

    Don't blame the SEC? Maybe the SEC needs better auditors – its disgraceful for them to have to admit that the cases they do find are done on outside tips rather than their own auditors efforts.

    January 5, 2009 at 8:09 pm |
  2. Franky

    Don't blame the SEC?? Maybe, just maybe, it wasn't their fault because some people are just that slick BUT maybe, just maybe, they should upgrade anytime soon...just saying, just saying.

    January 5, 2009 at 6:23 pm |