Bernard Lawrence "Bernie" Madoff (//; born April 29, 1938) is an American convicted of fraud and a former stockbroker, investment advisor, and financier. He is the former non-executive Chairman of the NASDAQ stock market, and the admitted operator of a Ponzi scheme that is considered to be the largest financial fraud in U.S. history.
Madoff founded the Wall Street firm Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC in 1960, and was its chairman until his arrest on December 11, 2008. The firm was one of the top market maker businesses on Wall Street, which bypassed "specialist" firms by directly executing orders over the counter from retail brokers. He employed at the firm his brother Peter, as Senior Managing Director and Chief Compliance Officer; Peter's daughter Shana Madoff, as the firm's rules and compliance officer and attorney; and his sons Andrew and Mark. Peter has since been sentenced to 10 years in prison and Mark committed suicide by hanging exactly two years after his father's arrest.
The Madoff investment scandal broke in December 2008, when former NASDAQ Chairman Bernard Madoff admitted that the wealth management arm of his business was an elaborate Ponzi scheme.
Madoff founded the Wall Street firm Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC in 1960, and was its Chairman until his arrest. He employed at the firm his brother Peter as Senior Managing Director and Chief Compliance Officer (Peter has since been sentenced to 10 years in prison), Peter's daughter Shana Madoff as the firm's rules and compliance officer and attorney, and his sons Andrew and Mark (Mark committed suicide by hanging exactly two years after his father's arrest).
A confidence trick (synonyms include confidence scheme and scam) is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their confidence, in the classical sense of trust (Latin: con-fidere). A confidence artist (or con artist) is an individual, operating alone or in concert with others, who exploits characteristics of the human psyche such as dishonesty, honesty, vanity, compassion, credulity, irresponsibility, naïveté, or greed.
The financial crisis of 2007–2008, also known as the Global Financial Crisis and 2008 financial crisis, is considered by many economists the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. It resulted in the threat of total collapse of large financial institutions, the bailout of banks by national governments, and downturns in stock markets around the world. In many areas, the housing market also suffered, resulting in evictions, foreclosures and prolonged unemployment. The crisis played a significant role in the failure of key businesses, declines in consumer wealth estimated in trillions of U.S. dollars, and a downturn in economic activity leading to the 2008–2012 global recession and contributing to the European sovereign-debt crisis. The active phase of the crisis, which manifested as a liquidity crisis, can be dated from August 9, 2007, when BNP Paribas terminated withdrawals from three hedge funds citing "a complete evaporation of liquidity".
The bursting of the U.S. housing bubble, which peaked in 2006, caused the values of securities tied to U.S. real estate pricing to plummet, damaging financial institutions globally. The financial crisis was triggered by a complex interplay of policies that encouraged home ownership, providing easier access to loans for subprime borrowers, overvaluation of bundled sub-prime mortgages based on the theory that housing prices would continue to escalate, questionable trading practices on behalf of both buyers and sellers, compensation structures that prioritize short-term deal flow over long-term value creation, and a lack of adequate capital holdings from banks and insurance companies to back the financial commitments they were making. Questions regarding bank solvency, declines in credit availability and damaged investor confidence had an impact on global stock markets, where securities suffered large losses during 2008 and early 2009. Economies worldwide slowed during this period, as credit tightened and international trade declined. Governments and central banks responded with unprecedented fiscal stimulus, monetary policy expansion and institutional bailouts. In the U.S., Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. In the EU, the UK responded with austerity measures of spending cuts and tax increases without export growth.