Monday, January 19, 2009

Madoff manages to muck things up here too

Bernie Madoff, the $50 billion rip-off artist, who took advantage of so many banks, charities and hedge funds, has finally been acknowledged as a source of pain here in Louisiana and New Orleans. None of the major Jewish philanthropies like the Jewish Endowment Fund of Louisiana or the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans suffered direct losses from the Madoff Ponzi scheme. The same cannot be said for federations in other areas like Greater Washington that reportedly lost $10 million or major Jewish philanthropies like Hadassah, who suffered $90 million in losses. Last week it was revealed that the Louisiana State Police and the New Orleans Police Department retirement funds had each lost approximately $400,000 from investments they had placed with legitimate hedge funds that had been taken in by Madoff's scheme. Charles Ponzi, the criminal whose name is ascribed to the criminal enterprise in which one pays out the oldest clients with proceeds from his most recent, would have been proud of how long Madoff sustained his thievery. So, the heroes of Hurricane Katrina are now the hapless victims of Madoff's greed. Meanwhile, while prosecutors plot their case against the former head of NASDAQ, he is quietly ensconced in his $7 million apartment, apparently still enjoying some vestige of the good life. If I were Madoff, I would be looking over my shoulder. One thing I wouldn't want is an angry Louisiana State Trooper or New Orleans Police Officer gunning for me.

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