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Madoff Accuses Big Banks as Complicit

Posted By Steven Brill || 12-Apr-2011

Madoff Says Big Banks Complicit in Historic Ponzi Scheme

Bernie Madoff, sentenced to 150 years for masterminding a massive Ponzi scheme believed to have bilked investors out of tens of billions in the largest such scam in history, just told the Financial Times that many key banks knew of, and were involved, in his activities, said CNBC.

Madoff says some powerful banks handled and marketed his money, naming HSBC, as having “missed things,” and that Price Waterhouse “came up to my office once a year and checked things out,” quoted CNBC. Madoff pointed out that, “The big difference between the big banks and funds, and regular clients, is that the banks and funds have all the information from the regulatory filings—but the regular clients did not have,” reported CNBC.

Madoff also talked about Chase; he and some of his early clients had money there prior to the JPMorgan Chase merger. According to the Financial Times, Madoff said, “Look, I am not a banker but I know that billions of dollars going in and out of a bank account is something that should alert you to something. [They] got all the financial statements. [They] could have seen—I was using them as custodian, and they never questioned it,” quoted CNBC.

JPMorgan Chase disagrees, says The Consumerist, insisting it was unaware of his scam. Regardless, Chase is being sued by Irving Picard, the trustee working to return victims’ funds, over allegations that Chase was complicit in Madoff’s scheme and executives there knew, but never addressed, suspicious activities. A lawyer for Picard said Madoff, "would not have been able to commit this massive Ponzi scheme without [Chase]," in a prior interview, said The Consumerist.