A little over 10 years have passed since the infamous arrest of Bernie Madoff, a Wall Street investment fund manager whose amazing Ponzi scheme resulted in more than $60 billion lost by numerous wealthy clients. For many in the investment world throughout Florida and the rest of America, the Madoff case stands as a blueprint of how investment fraud is handled by prosecutors, and how potential defendants can improve their outcomes in court.
To a great extent, Madoff used his powerful Wall Street and D.C. connections to concoct his Ponzi scheme, which was bewilderingly complex but can be boiled down to presenting clients with false portfolio statements indicating major profits. He got away with it for decades because he took advantage of a very bullish stock market. On the back end of the Ponzi scheme, Madoff was constantly injecting new money into his fund from new investors, and he used this cash whenever he could no longer stall established clients who wanted to withdraw money from their portfolio accounts.
Madoff pleaded guilty to various white-collar crimes ranging from money laundering to securities fraud. While he had the benefit of bail and house arrest before the scandalous trial came to an end, Madoff was ultimately sentenced to more than 100 years in prison. It should be noted that five former employees were found guilty of participating in the Ponzi scheme but received sharply lower sentences between 2.5 and 10 years. They could have faced decades in federal prison, but their defense strategy largely centered on deconstructing the false testimony presented by Madoff.
Whenever a star witness such as Madoff is determined to be untrustworthy, defendants accused of white-collar crimes can improve their chances of positive outcomes. As the Madoff case has shown, ringleaders who bear significant responsibility in alleged crimes will not always sink co-defendants, even if they try to do so.