Bernie Madoff pulled off one of the most successful cons in history…until it all came crashing down. But part 1 of the ABC miniseres MADOFF details the rise of Bernie’s empire, not the fall (they’re saving that for part 2).
Richard Dreyfuss stars as Bernie Madoff, a man who is very, very good at selling lies to people. In fact, he’s so good at selling that he makes people come to *him* for the pleasure of investing in his fund, instead of going out to them. This is essentially how his scheme worked: Bernie had a trading business where his sons and brother worked. This was the legitimate part of his company (although, it wasn’t profitable). Several floors below was the “secret” business — the real one. When people invested in his fund they handed over millions of dollars to Bernie who, along with a few select associates, put it into his bank account where it sat accruing interest. And that’s it. He wasn’t investing his clients’ money at all, he was just earning pennies on the dollar in a regular account. But the returns he prepared for his clients showed steady, impressive growth each year. And his family knew nothing about this scheme.
The system works, so long as no one wants to pull their money out. It works because money is flowing inwards and numbers on the statements can be manipulated as long as no one wants to start getting their cold hard cash out of the fund. But that doesn’t happen…yet.
In sneak peeks from part one, you get a sense of who Bernie is as well as see his son struggling to be recognized by his father. His sons clearly knew something strange was happening at the firm, but Bernie was determined not to let them in on the secret.
Don’t miss the two-hour MADOFF mini-series tonight beginning at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.