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No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller Hardcover – March 2, 2010
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Harry Markopolos and his team of financial sleuths discuss first-hand how they cracked the Madoff Ponzi scheme
No One Would Listen is the exclusive story of the Harry Markopolos-lead investigation into Bernie Madoff and his $65 billion Ponzi scheme. While a lot has been written about Madoff's scam, few actually know how Markopolos and his team-affectionately called "The Fox Hounds" by Markopolos himself, uncovered what Madoff was doing years before this financial disaster reached its pinnacle. Unfortunately, no one listened, until the damage of the world's largest financial fraud ever was irreversible.
Since that time, Markopolos openly has testified and questioned the enforcement and fraud investigation capabilities of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), shared a sliver of this page-turning story with 60 Minutes, and become perhaps the world's most visible and insightful whistleblower on fraud and conflicts of interest in financial markets.
Throughout the book, Markopolos and his Fox Hounds tell their first-hand story of investigating Madoff-with the help of bestselling author David Fisher. They explain how they discovered the fraud, and then how they provided credible and detailed evidence to major newspapers and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) many times between 2000 and 2008, only to have his warnings ignored repeatedly by the SEC.
- Provides a firsthand account of how Markopolos uncovered Madoff's scam years before it actually fell apart
- Discusses how the SEC missed the red flags raised by Markopolos
- Describes how Madoff was enabled by investors and fiduciaries alike
- The only book to tell the story of Madoff's scam and the SEC's failings by those who saw both first hand
Despite repeated written and verbal warnings to the SEC by Harry Markopolos, Bernie Madoff was allowed to continue his operations. No One Would Listen paints a vivid portrait of Markopolos and his determined team of financial sleuths, and what impact they will have on financial markets and financial regulation for decades to come.
A Timeline of a Take-Down
Amazon-exclusive content from author Harry Markopolos
How long did it take to uncover and expose a $40 billion crook? Ten years.
• 1998: My Firm “discovers” Bernie Madoff
• Late 1999: I am asked to reverse engineer Madoff’s returns
• I knew he was a fraudster in 5 minutes
• May: Submission to SEC Boston Regional Office’s Director of Enforcement with 12 Red Flags
• January: Team Member Frank Casey recruits MAR Hedge investigative journalist Michael Ocrant onto the team during a chance meeting in Barcelona, Spain
• March: My 2nd SEC Submission on how I think Madoff is running the scheme and his investment process
• I offer to go undercover to assist the SEC
• Apr: Michael Ocrant interviews Madoff
• May: MAR Hedge publishes Madoff expose, “Madoff Tops Charts; skeptics ask how”; Barron’s publishes, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: Bernie Madoff is so secretive, he even asks investors to keep mum”
• Jun: Key trip to UK, France & Switzerland; met with 20 Fund of Funds & Private Client Banks: 14 have Madoff and report “special access to Madoff”; two have admitted Madoff losses – Dexia Asset Management and Fix Family Office; 12 have not admitted Madoff losses and all 12 were turned into SEC Chairwoman on Feb. 5, 2009; off-Shore funds attract three types of investors who won’t report losses or file SIPC claims with the US government
• E-mail records of investigation lost; attempting to recover data from non-functioning hard drives
• Jun: Frank Casey discovers Madoff attempting to borrow money from European banks (first sign that Madoff scheme is in trouble)
• Oct: Boston SEC’s Ed Manion arranges for 3rd SEC Submission
• Oct: Meeting with Boston SEC Branch Chief Mike Garrity, who quickly investigates, finds irregularities, and forwards my submission to SEC’s New York Office
• Nov: Boston Whistleblower calls NYC Branch Chief Meaghen Cheung and reveals his identity
• Nov: 29 Red Flags submitted
• Dec: I doubt NYC SEC’s ability, fear for my life, and contact Wall Street Journal and go to local law enforcement for protection
• Jan: Integral Partners’ $40 million derivatives Ponzi Scheme goes to trial five years and five months after discovery, causing us to further doubt SEC competence
• Sep: Chicago Board Options Exchange VP tells me that several OEX option traders also think Madoff is a fraudster; if SEC had called the CBOE’s marketing office, they would have cooperated
• Feb 28: Neil Chelo obtains a Madoff portfolio which shows zero ability to earn a return
• Jun: Casey obtains Wickford Fund LP prospectus showing Madoff is short of cash and offering a 3:1 leverage via bank loans, another clear warning sign that Madoff is running short of cash
• Jul: Chelo obtains Fairfield Greenwich Sentry LP financial statements for 2004 – 2006 and discovers three year-end audits with three different auditors in three different countries!
• Aug: Chelo conducts a 45 minute telephone interview with Fairfield Greenwich’s head of risk management; hedge funds all lose money except for Madoff!
• Apr 2: Undelivered e-mail to Sokobin, SEC’s Director of Risk Assessment, entitled, “$30 Billion Equity Derivatives Hedge Fund Fraud in New York”
• Dec 11: Madoff runs out of money, turns himself in
• Dec 12: SEC insider calls me and warns “watch your back, Operation Cover-up has begun.”
• Feb 4: My U.S. House testimony followed by SEC’s senior staff and FINRA acting CEO
• Sep 4: 477-page SEC IG Report on the Madoff Fiasco released
• Sep 10: I testify before US Senate Banking Committee with SEC IG
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Markopolos, the whistleblower who filed five unheeded complaints against Ponzi king Bernie Madoff over nine years, has produced an astonishing true-life whodunit set amidst the personalities, plots, and international intrigue of Wall Street. Having collected damning information on money manager Madoff-the respected co-founder of NASDAQ who ran the largest financial scam in history-since 1999, Markopolos's work as a chartered financial analyst and certified fraud examiner, aided by an industry journalist and two colleagues from his days as a derivatives portfolio manager, lays bare the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) as a tragically inept regulating agency that "didn't give a rat's ass about protecting investors," and seemed to consider Madoff "just another guy cutting some corners." Realizing he had not one but two powerful opponents-"Madoff and this nonfunctioning agency"-Markopolos refused to give up, despite fearing for his life and his family; accordingly, he transmits his team's determination and fascination in contagious detail. The hows and whys of Madoff's eventual arrest, Markopolos's subsequent appearances before Congress, and the carnival of press coverage makes a satisfying conclusion to this strange epic; Markopolos also includes complete documentation of his formal submissions to the SEC, plus his recommendations for much-needed reform at the agency.
Learn more about the series of events which led up to Madoff's conviction.
Top customer reviews
analogies out the wazoo.
The SEC, in particular, showed not only the great defects of control organizations in their obligation to protect savers (in this case the SEC for its indifference, lack of preparation and possibly corruption). It is also described one of the great problems of the common man: seek easy wealth and not ask how such fantastic results were achieved at the expense of the infinite chain of naive investors that this " financial genius" managed to convince. Mankind does not learn ..... so it is interesting to see first hand the events described and the major risks we live for not asking, and trusting without doubt on people that before the failure was considered respectful, responsible and creative.
Will the world see in the near future more failures like this? It is quite possible!
A pesar de no ser una una buena obra literaria, por tener fallas evidentes en la redacción, narrar con frecuencia y de manera repetida el mismo hecho, ensalzarse mucho en describir sus cualidades personales, esta historia tiene el gran mérito de narrar - utilizando una frase de Garcia Marquez: "la crónica de una estafa anunciada"-, especialmente descubierta con suficiente anticipación por el autor, y que a pesar de su múltiples intentos, fue despreciada por las autoridades que han debito controlar la pirámide que estructuró Madof para hacer la estafa mas grande del siglo.Se evidencian no solo los grandes defectos de las organizaciones de control obligadas a proteger a los ahorradores ( en este caso la SEC por su pusilanimidad, falta de preparación y posiblemente corrupción) sino también uno de los grandes problemas del común dle ser humano: buscar la riqueza fácil y no preguntar como se lograban resultados tan fantásticos como los que recibían a costa de la cadena infinita de ingenuos inversionistas que este"genio" financiero logró conformar. La humanidad no aprende.....por eso es interesante conocer de primera mano los hechos relatados y los grandes riesgos en que vivimos por no preguntar, investigar y confiar ciegamente en lo que dice la gente que hasta antes del fracaso se consideraba respetuosa, responsable y creativa.¿Vendrán más fracasos similares a este? Es muy posible!
Markopolos makes it clear that in reality many of Madoff's investors knew that what he was doing was not kosher. They simply believed that Madoff was trading on insider information or "front running" and that they, Madoff's investors, were the beneficiaries of this wrongful conduct. I am a trial lawyer experienced in investment fraud, and Markopolos is absolutely correct in this book when he says that no serious financial person could believe that a legally-run investment fund could show a twelve percent annual return, month after month (i.e. approximately 1% per month), year after year, as Madoff reported. Further, Madoff's CPA for his multi-billion dollar operation was a single-person CPA firm with no financial reputation whatever. These two facts should have alerted even the most blunted observer. But Madoff's investors either did not understand finance, or in many cases they understood only too well that Madoff could not obtain the returns he was reporting honestly. They just assumed they, his investors, were the beneficiaries, not the victims, of Madoff and his scheme. No one knows what the SEC was thinking, or if it was thinking.
The SEC comes in for savage criticism by Markopols. Markopolis repeatedly reported Madoff to the SEC, and every time he was ignored. As a lawyer I have to agree with the author when he points out that the SEC fraud division, which is comprised largely of lawyers, is unqualified for the work that it is supposed to do. Lawyers have a completely different skill set than the type of "quant" experts who understand complex financial derivative products. (That is why we use expert witnesses in fraud trials.) The author points out that Madoff reportedly claims that every time an SEC investigator came by his office to ask questions, the SEC person would ask Madoff's receptionist for a job application. Pretty disappointing.
Mr. Markopolos makes an interesting comment when he wonders if the investing public would not be better off without SEC regulation. Then, he argues, at least the public would not be lulled into believing that the regulators were protecting them. However, the main message of Markopolos' book is pushing for regulatory reform rather than reliance upon free markets--more regulation, not less. Readers may make up their own minds.
I thought that Markopolos came across as sincere and intelligent. Some have claimed that he was overly paranoid when he felt that his life was in danger as a result of his whistleblowing. But Madoff's scheme reportedly involved over 50 billion dollars. People have been killed for a lot less. Often, investors in Ponzi Schemes do not want the boat rocked, and Markopolos was trying very hard to sink Madoff's ship.
This is an important book and a great read. Highly recommended. RJB.
Most recent customer reviews
Extremely repetitive, with numerous diabolical metaphors. Interesting story but... terrible, terrible writing.