The audacity of Bernie Madoff’s fraud could perhaps have been glimpsed in how Madoff held himself in the years before his Ponzi scheme collapsed in 2008.
Madoff dressed well and moved in moneyed circles. His manner was private, but he lived in the rich man’s world of Palm Beach and New York’s Hamptons. Madoff owned a yacht. His investment firm maintained expensive, modern premises in a tower, the Lipstick Building, in Manhattan, and kept offices abroad. He held a series of seats on the boards of major companies and was at one time non-executive chairman of the NASDAQ stock market.
He was respectable. Madoff carried himself like a patrician, rich and superior. He was capable of great cordiality and used it to great effect greasing wheels. Madoff dabbled in philanthropy which was designed to look unshowy while leaving an impression of positivity in the minds of those who saw it.
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