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No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller Paperback – February 8, 2011

4.2 out of 5 stars 298 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Timeline of a Take-Down
Learn more about the series of events which led up to Madoff's conviction.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 354 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (February 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470919000
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470919002
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (298 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,686 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Although I was not an investor, I have been intrigued by the Madoff scandal since it exploded in December 2008. Ever since then, I have spent hours poring over articles written in the press and documents released by the government and watched (and rewatched) all the hearings on this massive fraud. I even attended one of Harry Markopolos' speaking events to make sure that my television screen did not conjure up such a noble public servant. Of course, it is only appropriate that I would have a copy of "No One Would Listen" in my hands on the first day of its release. Admittedly, I expected the book to be more or less a summary of everything I have learned thus far - I was very wrong. "No One Would Listen, " a true David and Goliath story, is one of the most riveting nonfiction I have ever read.

In the book, young innocent David is portrayed as a "wildly eccentric quant" from Boston named Harry Markopolos who tried to defend his country from the nine feet tall Philistine giant Goliath, portrayed as Bernie Madoff. King Saul of Israel and his army (the SEC) were terrified of Goliath. "No One Would Listen" is a 10-year firsthand account of how Harry and his three friends tried to warn the government, the industry, and the press that the founder of the most successful broker-dealers in the financial industry was actually the biggest crook in history. Unfortunately, "No One Would Listen" does not have the same happy ending as the biblical David v. Goliath battle.

For the past few days, I have been reading reviews on the book and found a lot of derogatory comments about Harry's character and his book. I have to wonder to myself if these reporters read the same book that I did and why they would want to tag their name with such unsubstantiated assertions.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When the SEC was asleep at the wheel, Markopolos was there. It blew my mind when I read just how many times Markopolos tried to contact the SEC and the media, and so many times, he was ignored. To think of the money and the lives that could have been saved! When I wasn't baffled and educated by the contents of the book, I was laughing. Markopolos has managed to write a TRUE thriller with charm and humor. It comforts me to know that this book is out there, for all to read, and I hope it brings a lot of change to our financial watchdogs. Harry Markopolos is a hero.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent account of the efforts of Harry Markopolos and his team in uncovering Bernie Madoff's fraud and then trying to expose him and get the government to act. The book is well written and documents the the abysmal failures of an SEC relying too heavily on lawyers and accountants who lack the sophistication to understand how the investment industry works and the investment solutions the industry markets to investors.

Harry's account of when Noelle Frangipane, a member of the SEC's Inspector General's team investigating the SEC's failings, broke down and cried was indeed a particularly human moment and an account I'm glad Harry put in the book. There are people at the SEC who care. The agency clearly lacks investment professionals and people with investment industry operational experience. Lawyers and accountants have their role, but they are not trained as investment professionals.

Great read! Good job Harry!
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Format: Hardcover
Harry Markopolos doesn't consider himself a hero. That's about the only thing he's wrong about though. He is indeed a hero. This is the story of how a man and his small group of associates, at great personal risk, tried to prevent the greatest scam of our times. That they failed is tragic for Madoff's victims in particular and in general illustrates the failure of our institutions to protect us from even the most egregious and obvious fraud. The SEC(with 2 notable exceptions) were the biggest bunch of fools you could imagine. If you didn't know this book was absolutely true it would strain credulity to the utmost.

He relates in agonizing detail how for the better part of a decade his group handed the fraudster to the SEC on a golden platter. They presented proof after proof (red flags they called them) to the SEC proving unequivocally that Madoff was a total con, running a gigantic Ponzi scheme. And as the title indicates, "No One Would Listen". Though my math skills are fair to poor, his presentations to the SEC were crystal clear to me. You just couldn't miss it...yet they did.

I would compare what happened to a citizen finding a bloody arm from the Madoff residence and bringing it into the police station being told by the police that the arm didn't exist and 'to get our of here you're bothering me'.

He also points out how corrupt our financial system is in general, skewering the mutual fund and banking industries in particular. It seems we live in a nation of thieves. Well Harry and his group do give us cause for hope. Thank you Harry and friends for your efforts. For honest folks, you guys are heroes. This book deserves to be a best-seller now and for many weeks to come.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In spite/despite the "flaming" by a fellow Kindle owner over the Kindle price, I found myself amused and horrified by Mr. Markopolos' well presented account of Madoff's scheme; as a member of the Bar, I live in disbelief at the non-action of the SEC. Mr. Markopolos was vainly trying to "herd chickens"!
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