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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  April 1, 2012 7:30am-8:30am EDT

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scheme has always been an outside personality, not true. the concept of ponzi schemes are always greedy joe wyatt madoff teaches that there's a lot of what we knew isn't true and that is why we need to learn about this ponzi scheme were not for us actually long time and if ira kraken wanted to know how to do it, i might take some pages from bernie madoff's story. i think it is important that we know that story. and when you read the book to be really struck. it's an incredible amount of hard work and creativity that went into sustaining this thing. "wizard of lies: bernie madoff and the death ofbernie madoff at
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deputy right out of high school and became really this computer wizard. the two of them set up this incredible amount of trickery. i just want to read a passage to show you what i'm talking about. there were two stories in the media. one was a publication for a hedge fund managers. one was then parents magazine. the book question made out and a lot of what he is saying doesn't make sense. a lot of things that he is saying he is doing in the market, for example, there is not enough money in the market. it's not possible to what he is saying is true. so neither of those got a lot of press. they're pretty obviously knew about them and was concerned and he called one of his biggest investors and he depend on for a lot of money.
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it had the guy come over. let me show you how i do what i do. his name is tucker, the guy who comes over. kentucky arrived for this visit, madoff was ready thanks to his efforts. besides the phony trade confirmations and account statements generated for more than a decade county set up a bogus trading platform to make it appear as if actual traits were conducted with european counterparties good of others perceptible traitor was an employee on another computer terminal hidden in a different room and he is a clincher, a paratroop that all the stocks he claimed to have purchased were held in made-up account at wall street central clearinghouse. the depository trust and clearing corporations officially called the dpc p., but informally known among veteran traders as the dpc. this is the acid test for the masterpiece come a computer simulation of a live feed. here taking care to duplicate
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the clearinghouse is loco, page format, printers that and paper quality of the report. of course, those counterfeit records would always verify that the required number of shares for their innocent cow, safe and sound. so how could you not fall for the clicks it's terrifying. >> it seemed to me that all that absurd to put into legitimate trading would have produced the money. their creativity was really quite astounding. when people say folk should have known, i will give them that the statements will the little crude -- customer statements, not days. these reports provide up and exactly what a man like tucker would've dtc. but he kept old letterhead stationery from his earlier
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address is an old electric typewriter said that if he had to create an authentic looking document to satisfy regulatory query born accountants query, he could do so. he could get the old letterhead, have somebody type it out and stick it in the file and answer whatever questions that that would have to come down the pipe. dipasquale, his first big raker was in 1992 when one of madoff's early pick can do is, to account so i called up for contract of the story he could not make characters i've played this were fiction if they tell you, but these two characters have been sending money to madoff for years and then they got caught in 1992. this is one of his first big crises. and they supposedly at
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$440 million at the sec told them to hand it back to investors. well, madoff stole the money from another account, give it back to these investors. they'll promptly wanted to invest with madoff again. that these were the only people of god none of this ponzi scheme with all their profits and locked away safely, but the sec made madoff give the money back. all the earnings, all the prophets, if they just locked away. but they didn't. they wanted to come back and invest with bernie. but these two accountants only had six accounts. and through the six accounts, 3500 people roughly were investing. one outcome of ernie has 3500 people who want to invest. 3500 accounts. what does he do? feed is a new ibm computer. deepest values is a very simple
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mailmerge software program to create a program that can allocate a given set of trade across all of this account space on how much money they had and generate the thousands of account statements they made off now needed to produce. that was when he'd really automated his ponzi scheme. this is a man who helped automate the stock market, so it helped automate the ponzi scheme as well. >> it's often said a good rule of thumb for financial positions as if it sounds too good to be true, it's probably true. but this goes way beyond that and have a different take on it. >> every writer has some thing they wish they'd read that somebody else did. this is one of those. it is the most brilliant insight into the modern come and that to say, the madoff ponzi scheme. if this sounds too good to be true, you're dealing with the name is cherry. think about it.
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a professional nose to make it sound just good enough to tab to, but not make it sound too good to be too. and madoff was vaporetto. he never made it sound too good to be true. a smart ponzi scheme your while. so if you think you can defend yourself from a ponzi scheme or by staying alert to anything that sounds too could be true, back as an amateur. look at caught long before he gets to you. it's the pros who will make it sound just good enough to sound attractive, just good enough to interest you, but not so good that your red flags are going to start waving and your alarm bells will start going off. so that is another one of those lessons i think we need to learn about the modern ponzi scheme. >> any venue were taken in -- not financially, but --
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>> i did, i did. just to give you a sense of how persuasive he was. i interviewed madoff in prison. i was the first journalist to be able to go interview him in prison in august of 2010 and a deal that the lawyer insisted on was the interview with embargoed for this book. he didn't want it thrown out into the media if there is a media firestorm engulfing his family at that point he get water fluid poured on the fire. so that was the deal. i will talk to you, but you can't use any of it until the book came out. i agreed, but a sad, it's a two-way street. you know, i will embargoed this material for this book, but you can't then go get this material to other people. you can't do other interviews. yack of course not, of course not. i waited 18 months to get this interview. bernie assured me in writing by
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e-mail subsequent, don't worry, diana, i won't let any other interviewers get ahead of this book. but of course he was lying. on my second visit with him in february 2011 i found a reporter from europe magazine. i unfortunately found out about it. i have very good sources and i confronted him. i said what are you doing? we had a deal. and he told me why he was doing it and maybe i misunderstood our arrangement. i did misunderstand anything. and that is from a second interview showed up on the front page of "the new york times" the next day. it is embargoed for the book when you are serving the embargo, but sure enough, said the the deal is off. and i was very agitated about that, but as i was racing for the prison to find a computer somewhere at the airport for the
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next day's paper, it occurred to me that i had actually trusted transport not to talk to any other authors. even though he was behind bars as a swindler when he made that promise to me. i mean, can you imagine how persuasive he must've been when he was a genius? he'd give me the insight into how convincing he was that i'm almost kind of glad it happened to me because you can understand something intellectually. you can you can type to people and i talked to dozens and dozens of madoff but tends to make tell you their experience. they can tell you how convincing they attacked their widowed mother and ensure that their money would be saved. and it's an intellectual understanding. yeah got it, he was a persuasive
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guy. what a happy new companies that being said great, bernie is not going to talk to anybody else. and you realize, why on earth did i trust him? whiners that i think he would keep that to meet? can you really understand the emotional magic but a first-class ponzi scheme or pass because that is the nonnegotiable job requirement for a ponzi scheme are. you must be out to make people trust you. if you can't do that come you've got to go into another line of crying. you know, embezzlement, bribery, something else. you cannot be a ponzi scheme or if you cannot meet people trust you. and this guy is so good he could make me trust him a little bit when he was already behind bars, so that is how good he was. >> along the same lines, you can't cheat an honest man, so the honest men and women here
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today, what can we learn from that? what can we learn to make ourselves less honorable? >> and "wizard of lies" commuter couple stories of people who had a chance to invest with madoff. and they were spared. i want to sell you one of those stories. there is a retired businessman. if i told you what retail chain, you would immediately recognize it. and he had angled for six months to get into manages money because he had heard so much about him. he had friends invested with ernie. he gets to the appointment, goes in with his accountant. the businessman's accountant. and they said they are in talk a about it. what's your feet kweisi says there's there's no feed, but i have a $5 billion minimum. $5 million minimum. i think bernie made it to many
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and assured based on who was sitting across the table. but in this case is $5 million. and the guy said, you know, i never get the first time money manager more than $250,000 to start but. the measure if you do well, i will put in more, but that is my limit. $250,000. and diana madoff says you can po an half million but it's got to be 5 million by the end of the year. the guy was tempted. he really wanted to invest in the sky, but he had this rule, a good, smart bro and he stuck to it. so he said, sorry, stood up, shook hands, walked out, never realizing he had just dodged a bullet because he didn't walk away because you suspect did when he was a crook. similarly, he chaired the online
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island had an investment with bernie madoff. dead donors who invested in a new date could be so much more good if their money could grow at a nice steady pace that bernie oscar. but they had a rule. they never invested with the money manager who didn't hold the asset in an independent custodio bank. some independent third party, a bank or trust company that held the stocks and bonds come a third-party custodian there called on wall street. so they said well, we only invested money managers to use a third-party custodian and bernie doesn't. could you make an exception just this one time? >> now, we will. so they too didn't invest, walked away not knowing they dodged a bullet. neither one of them suspected diana henriques was a crook. they both thought he was a genius. they both trusted him.
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but they had rules that were developed to keep them safe from excessive risk and as tempted as they were by this wall street wizard to waive those rules. they stuck to god and were spared. so that is what you can do. you can sit down and cannot figure out what your level of risk tolerance is, figure out what seems to you like a good smart way to manage your money and there's the basic commandments. don't put all your eggs in one basket. only invested some money uses a third party custodian or stick with tightly regulated mutual funds and bank cds that you understand and you nobrega leaders are watching like a hawk. so those are some basic rules. you can have those rules. many of madoff's victims have those rules. the trick is don't waveband for the people that you can't trust
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and admire and thinker geniuses. we all have wizards in our life. the people who think so bright, so successful and so good about debut that you trust them with anything. i mean, they're the tiger woods of golf, the wayne gretzky of hockey. at the george sorenson's coming to peter branches of the magellan bunch. these geniuses were larger than life and of course you trust them. well, trust them, but do not weep your rules for them. because that is what will keep you out of trouble. sticking to your rules, even when some glorious wizard is tempting me to waveband. >> just going back for a second, the guy that you mentioned, he is not identified in the book. wouldn't he be awfully proud to say i could not be church by bernie madoff clack
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>> is exactly the lion and the sales pitch i used and it didn't work. >> is the just very private clack >> yes. that's what i said to them. i said wouldn't you want to know that people should know -- >> he said he didn't walk away because he was so smart. he walked away because he had this will, but he still thought it bernie is a genius. he did not take you as a crook. he if he had discovered bernie was occur, i think he would've let me use his name, but he didn't. >> let's talk about the madoff family. his wife, ruth was really vilified from her hairdresser wouldn't do her hair anymore. she couldn't get a table at a few restaurants anymore. his son got a bit of a pass because they turned them into, although their life stories that did comment that you do seem to believe that they were not in on
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this? >> that is one of the most frequent questions i get is selected the family know? did ruth know? to marker and drew, madoff's sons know? i mean, we sit here more than three years after his arrest. the madoff bank rep trustee has reviewed -- i think there never is right, 20 billion documents that were drawn from the madoff firms, the storage area where they left their older records. not one fate of evidence that implicates debut. now one of the five people awaiting trial on criminal charges in the case had implicated bruce, mark or injury. not one of the five people who have pleaded guilty had implicated ruth, mark or andrew.
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i think at some point i have to say that people who say they must've known prove it. because i do not think that you can. i couldn't. i could not find anything that implicated them and i found a number of suggested bits of evidence going the opposite direction that suggests that they did not know. for example, madoff had a near death patch breaker in 2005. the excerpt on the back of the book jacket is from that episode. in 2005. he was facing $105 million redemption. he had $13 million left in his slush fund. if he wrote those checks, they would announce in the game would be. it would be over. $13 million was all he had. he scrambled. he borrowed money to his legitimate firm. move the money and ran back in his slush fund to use it to
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cover expenses. so from that experience, november 2005 until the following spring, his ponzi scheme is living hand to mouth. it is scrambling to get enough money to cover these regulate redemption demands without blowing up. during that period of time, neither ruth, his sons nor his brother altered their use of company cash is one at all. they continue to borrow money from the firm. they continue to use the firm's money to make entrepreneurial investments and capital investments. well i'm sorry. if they are your accomplice and they are down to your last million bucks, u.s.a. family, hold back, right click still say sorry, you cannot take that money out. they did not take all of their money out of their account as some of the employees did.
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they just continued to views they are madoff piggy bank as they always had. so that does not suggest to me that they knew that the ponzi scheme was in the dreadful peril that of the same. let's look at ruth situation. whether or not madoff was unfaithful to her with the particular people who claim he was unfaithful to her, she believed that he was unfaithful to her. what kind of lunatic, which he found a woman who could pick up the phone and call the fbi to cut a pretty good deal for herself, even if she was as accomplished? so that it makes sense. third game. from the beginning, from the date of madoff's arrest tallies deaths by suicide in the second anniversary of his father's death. he and his brother were represented by single defense
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lawyer. any lawyers in the room? you out immediately twig, did you click the two people are facing criminal investigation, they can't use the same criminal lawyer. why? at night because the various best thing is to roll him over and get a deal. the same lawyer cannot represent under those circumstances. the defense bar in new york knew as the months went by and the same lawyer continued to represent our commander that my commander were not facing criminal investigation. ruth was confirmed as an innocent spouse by the irs december 3rd madoff's arrest when she reached a settlement to forfeit all but $2.5 million at the $80 million she had in her own name. mark and andrew continued to use
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the family firm and were often in dispute with their father, which if they had this guilty knowledge, they should they would've won more often than they did. so i added all together. you'll have to keep an open mind and decide whether i have persuaded you, but i was persuaded that ruth, mark and andrew did not know about the ponzi scheme until madoff confessed to them. he by confessing comp by not playing and running off to someplace beyond u.s. jurisdiction that he would heal his family from the kind of vilification and typically that was hurled at them. it was one of the most astonishing things i've ever seen. but he was completely blindsided by the amount of anger and hate that fell on them anyway. and frankly so aside.
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it was extremely atypical for the family members are white collar criminal of any storage to fall under that kind of attack. to combat it. if you think that to michael milken. you think that to ken lay and jeffrey skilling. anybody remember their children being chased to the streets by photographers and paparazzi quiet though. monsters, organized crime figures, mrs. monster? anybody or rather her be dragged into the spotlight? no. the gotti family notwithstanding to speak to the spotlights themselves. that is noteworthy exactly because it's so unusual. so it's not unreasonable for madoff to expect they would be left alone if if he stood up to confess his crime and took the heat. he was absolutely wrong. and what they experienced was a remarkable trial by fire.
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if you accept that they were innocent and then read what happened to them, i think you'll find it hard not to feel some compassion for at least those members in the madoff family. >> what to think he was? the sheer numbers? >> i thought about that. why was it as a society we are so far out of our normal reaction. i think he was the time. i think it was the anger, the sense of public trail, that everyone felt in the fall of 2008. there were a lot of faceless villains that fall. remember lehman brothers -- name one person from lehman brothers. aig had derivative data. well, name one headliner from aig. outside the wall street world, most american citizens couldn't. those were faceless corporations that have somehow brought us to
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the brink of financial meltdown. and then we have bernie, a phase, a family, someone to be the target of all of their free-floating rage and anger come of this fence being betrayed because that is what he did rudy betrayed people who trusted him. well, that is the wall street did. it betrayed people who trusted it. but he was a ham and they hurt and it then. and i think it was the mood of the country that made him so much a target of public rage, rather than anything unique about them. >> broods stood by him in a lifetime. and he and she is still standing by at ernie had better things change. can you talk about that? >> it has changed and i was able to interview with this file for an article in the times about her life since then.
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she realized that her loyalty to bernie was costing her her family. now, why did she stay with him? the one time madoff lost his composure was when i asked him whether he regretted that ruth had stayed, with garish heat were issued made a different decision and they started to weep as he tried to answer the weep as he tried to answer the question. he clearly feels very deeply for ruth and she had left him from first sight at age team. she met him when she was 13 and he was his bronze to 60-year-old lifeguard. he was her home from the party and walked her through the next 55 years of their life. she married him at eight team.
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she adored him. she thought he was a genius. she worshiped him. and he needed her were shut in a very concrete way. she told me that she just after 50 years could not walk out on him at the most horrible moments of his life. it's a little hard for me to understand, but i've been married 43 years. i can tell there's some people out here who have been married longer than that. and she put it to me. she's a predator was a child? what if one of your children had committed some terrible crime? would you walk out on them? would you cut them off and never talk to them again? what would you do? very hard decision. and it was a hard decision for
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her. made even harder by the fact is she really didn't anyplace to go. think about it. her sons were talking to her. they walked out of the apartment because she is not what do with them, did cutter of. her friends, while they were all madoff pic ends. if any of them are inclined to take her and her lawyers would never let them do so. no one could even speak up in her defense in public without being vilified. so she really had nowhere to go. as she walked out on him she was essentially homeless. and she felt compassion for him. so she stayed. finally, in the early fall of 2010, she realized he was going to be impossible to reconcile. as much as she tried to reconcile with mark and andrew, and they refused to see her if she can to need to visit bernie.
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they spoke by phone quite regularly. she did not visit them that often because it is a long, long trip from florida where she was staying near her sister to north carolina. so she went to him and told him, i can't see you anymore or it will cost me my family. i have to choose. i have to stop coming here and you have to help me stop. so she attempted to pull away that fall and he kept calling. change your phone number. he kept trying to call and then she learned about her son, marks, suicide. the last time she spoke to bernie made us was to call him in prison and told them he was dead and she is not spoken to him since. so he is truly estranged from her in an absolute way. she is not spoken to him.
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she has begun to reconcile with her son, andrew, add she is hoped she would. but that was a very difficult decision and i am loath to be critical of her decision without standing in her shoes at the time. think of how not pressure she was under, how completely dispossess she was. i don't know if any of you follow publicity about the madoff options for the u.s. marshal auction off their possessions to raise money through some of the options should have been auctioned off. should attend and a half carat diamond ring. the homes -- you saw those. obviously the u.s. marshal service auction as a pairs of her pantyhose. her use geocode close. all of the moisturizers and shampoos from her bathroom cupboard. i can prove it because it's in
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the inventory that the u.s. marshal posted online. she was that utterly dispossessed. old pocket books, used shoes and boots, all of it scraped out of her house, put on display at the brooklyn navy yard and auctioned off. so i haven't been through something like that. i haven't experienced what she experienced in so i'm a little vote to question her decision. she had been somewhat not pampered person although certainly they had great wealth. they did not let that plutocratic levels as many we've come to know them. at the very, very wealthy. a little naïve, you little innocent and utterly unprepared to deal with what happened in the aftermath. i'm inclined to say and not sure what i would've done in their
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shoes. i just thank god i wasn't in her shoes. there is one body you should have, could have put a not to bernie made up for that is the security exchange commission. the book on that day in a detailed what the fcc to investigate madoff a little bit. two would go investigate and then stop and i would really file the report orinda shared by many would investigate a little bit. so this can sort of close a bunch of times some of the no one knew the others are doing. so after the whole thing unraveled of course they started taking it very seriously. and i'm an point in the book some fcc inspectors visited present and they want to know, how to deal with them for so long? and so i just think this is a really telling part of the book. the attorneys talk about the sony account statements that he generated for years and years
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and madoff of jackson says they were billy sony account statements. so the inspectors are sitting in credulous so there is upon us and then madoff says i can see how you might view them as false. but when i read that it really made me think about the phony war heroes who by the patches online and go to the parades and they do it for decades and decades and after a while they believed their own press. i wonder if there is some of that with trained for. do you think you really believe to is this genius of the world body was? >> i really do. as i said earlier, the first lab on the skimmer has to tell us to himself. the light he can somehow get away with it or he will somehow work his way out of it. the live is that at tcs, i thank you as as bad at keeping himself
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busy with other people. it was so high. this is the fcc inspector general who visited him in prison, in jail when he is held in new york. and he was outraged at the notion as i did and she filed false documents with the sec? and he said no, i sent the fcc the same documents i set my customers. [laughter] and inspector general said, but weren't the sole stock units? and that's when he uttered that line, after a long pause, i can see how you think they might be false. so he defended himself. i'm him as a psychiatric nurse and she has to tell me that the mind will not see what it cannot. c. that people will defend themselves against knowledge that they cannot bear to it now which. maybe there is something of that
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in madoff's assistance that he really was an honest and successful manager or many years. the government says no for most of this years to recruit. he really was failing on this record. while no, he wasn't. i think he can really bear to face who he really is. and until he does, i don't know that anything like the kind of remorse that we might expect to see a demand would cause such devastation, besides his son's suicide, two other investors committed suicide in the aftermath of the retired british military man who went into a park and blew his brains out in a french money manager who lost his veins in his office because all of his clients money. so aside from the financial refuge, charities that had to close their doors and people who are living a social security because they had been last,
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there is the human wreckage. and yet he still would argue with me in e-mails that we exchanged, that the dems are going to get enough out of the bankruptcy process to make all of this writer can i save dollars and cents could ever make it right again. so you know, i would press him on that. i don't just sit and listen when i'm dealing with nato. i don't waste time trying to argue, but i do price back on the side of reality and say wait a minute, you know, there is no way you can make these people hold, even if the trustee is able to get 100 cents on the dollar. people had to sell the family home they expected to lead to their kids. they can't get it back. the kids had to drop out of college because they didn't pay tuition. you can't kaposi are back. he kept this mess of broken eggs back together again. >> well, i can see how you would say that.
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>> other topamax your questions. there's microphones on either side. whoever make their first. go ahead, sir. [inaudible] -- with the sec, please? has consulting relationship with the sec. >> it was always an informal relationship. he was sent a a noted figure in the security trading industry. that's another to retail investors because suppressing if he didn't have any retail customers. he was a behind-the-scenes guy, and infrastructure guy. so the fcc consulted him and his brother frequently about rulemaking that would affect wall street trading. he was in the vanguard of pushing towards more automation of treating, 24 hour trading, globalized trading, things that have all come past the madoff
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was an advocate quite early years so he would serve on advisory committees, roundtable discussions. he would be part of the delegation that the industry would spend the fcc to argue that sun will change or another. but he never had official consulting relationship with them. >> how important was the notion of affinity fraud? i am from minnesota and at least in minnesota a large part of the jewish community was involved, not so much because they direct contact with madoff, but because they trusted their friends who have distressed in madoff. >> wonderful question. there is no doubt, and affinity fraud no doubt is the process of preying upon some affinity that you have a toothache time, whether it is ethnicity or country club membership for
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religious state, did she pray on that affinity to develop trust, which he then exploit through fraud. certainly at the beginning and it's a earlier it was. madoff's father-in-law who is a source of some of the investors who invested at a time when madoff insists he was legitimate and might've been. he knew people at his country club combat the jewish country for periods of those people got to know bernie. bernie served on the board. you see the university of jewish philanthropy. he became known and not community. so yes, initially it was an affinity fraud, certainly. he was playing on the trust that
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he gathered simply by being a member of that group, a respected, generous, philanthropic member of that group. but by its sand, paint it eat last ticket of its life, it is the last affinity fraud, far behind. you know, the sovereign wealth fund of abu dhabi fell forward $440 million. investors in the persian gulf who never dream a kid from queens is running their money or he did know that he was earning their money and thought of it only as a senior executive of nasdaq or investing with madoff. so far out it it's affinity root, but it began there. >> could you discuss the folks who withdrew phony profits and the rationalization that they really should keep that money,
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even though it was a ponzi even though it was a ponzi scheme by definition and came from other people's pockets? >> you know, the tragic thing about a ponzi scheme and that such a good question because it hits right at the kind of heartbreak that makes ponzi schemes the most diabolical financial fraud attempting to. it doesn't just hit the deck guns to get the balance. it pits one set of victims against another set of it ends. and there can be no winners. but what the law says another london second circuit in new york has set back the way that you weigh the equity in these cases is on a cash income or cash out basis. but the people who have argue with john the cash they gave madoff don't get anymore until the people who didn't get any cash out of their account has been made whole, too. and then if there is anything
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left, we can share and share late peers to the effort of the liquidation right now are to do it do not losers, and those who gave made madoff more than take a path. no winners, surely the most term effort because they are not winners by any definition that we would understand. they're just as tragically betrayed. they lost money they thought they had. but under the law, they received all the cash they had given madoff and in many cases even more. they received money for madoff stole from other people in the years to their withdraws which they thought were legitimate earnings on their investment. there's no way to make this whole. if you rob peter to pay paul, how do you undo that? you take it back from palm to give it to peter. paul isn't going to be happy
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about that. he is going to believe that was his money and i am sympathetic to that. but peter is going to say no, it wasn't your money. it was mine. so that's the kind of legal heartbreak that is stretching out now for years into the future as this tangle, this knot is unwound. you can see why did a little upset with made transept when he claims money can fit all this. no way. >> we have about one minute left here palmar question. >> with respect to mrs. madoff. it's called traditional love. i'm sure you would've shown the same thing. and she didn't. but the question i really wanted to ask was, had bernie managed to manage this until the day with the dow back at 13, would have dodged another one quite >> i think he would. i think he would.
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and groups defense they are, she settled with the government under forfeiture agreement that the latter to keep four and a half. she still is not reached a settlement with the bankruptcy trustee. so how much of that she will be allowed to keep when she's reached a settlement with the bankruptcy court we don't know yet. and she doesn't know either. yes, i do think if madoff had been able to weather the storm, he would still be going strong. i really do believe it. he was already dialing has returned down by june of 2008 he was only paying 4%. he would be paying 8% and a half now maybe. now, 75 basis point to be paying very little, but more that you could get in the money market fund and you'd be happy to have it, wouldn't you? ..
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>> this event took place at the 2012 tucson festival of books. to find out more, visit tucson festival of >> while serving in iraq from 2003 to 2009, u.s. navy seal sniper kyle accumulated more officially-confirmed kills than any other sniper in history. in his new best-selling autobiography, he writes about the early career he had as a professional rodeo writer, the challenges he overcame to become a seal and his experiences in iraq. he joins booktv on saturday, april 7th, beginning at noon eastern time. join the conversation by calling in during the program or by
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sending in questions or comments via e-mail to or tweeting us at booktv. >> and now more from booktv's trip to little rock, the largest city and the capital of arkansas. next we hear from ernie dumas. his book, "waiting for the cemetery vote: the fight to stop election fraud in arkansas," chronicles problems from the 19th century up until the 1970s when citizens banded together to fight a system that corrupt officials had perpetuated for years. >> the cemetery vote is a, is a name applied to, i guess, generically to election fraud. in a lot of places, particularly in arkansas and in southern states, one of the things that political bosses did was on, in close elections when you need
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votes late at night, you voted the dead people, the cemetery vote. that was called the cemetery vote. so you couldn't count the ballots, you couldn't call the election until the cemetery vote was in so, thus, the title of the book, "waiting for the is cemetery vote." election fraud in arkansas, i think, is kind of like election fraud throughout the south. and i think the kind of culture of election fraud probably can be traced back to reconstruction era. shortly after the civil war and the end of reconstruction. and in the south, particularly in arkansas and alabama and mississippi and louisiana and tennessee there was a great struggle to regain control by the merchant class, the
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planters, white business leaders and the democratic party which controlled the south. great struggle to recapture government at every level from the republicans and the carpetbaggers and the call la wags and also the newly-enfranchised blacks who had been freed during the civil war and now became voters. so after reconstruction there was a great struggle to take the country, take the south back. and so particularly in the 1870s and the 1880s you had this massive struggle. and in arkansas it culminated in the elections of 1888. and that's, that's how this book, "waiting for the cemetery vote," starts; with that great struggle to capture the courthouses, the statehouse and particularly a congressional seat.
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and it was such a titanic struggle that virtually everything went including stealing ballots by the thousands, taking ballot boxes, throwing them in the river, intimidating people, terrorizing people, serial murders occurred in that election including the republican candidate for congress from a district east of little rock. he, the election was stolen from him. and he went to a little town in arkansas to investigate it after people he sent there to investigate the fraud either were chased away or disappeared. so he went there on his own to find out what happened, and he was murdered. and then after that other people had to be hurded to keep it quiet -- murdered to keep it quiet. so there was kind of an
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acceptance of that in the commitment -- community because everybody understood that it was important that your side won, so whatever was needed to get people into office was permissible and acceptable. so in that instance no one -- although there were dozens and perhaps hundreds of people involved in that fraud -- nonetheless, nobody was ever prosecuted or punished for it. and even today there are people in that community who trace their lineage back to people who were involved in that voting fraud. and my great, great, great grandfather was in the room when they drew straws to see who was going to assassinate john clayton. so that's kind of -- at least that's the thesis of our book, that that became the basis of the kind of this political culture of vote theft in arkansas. and why it was acceptable to
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everybody. prosecuting attorneys never prosecuted anybody even when they're caught stealing votes. nobody's ever prosecuted because everybody does it, after all, and you kind of understand why they did it. it's kind of an acceptable white collar crime. after 1888 the democratic party in arkansas and elsewhere throughout the south, the democratic party became the governing party without question. it was really unchallenged from the, from reconstruction until the 1970s and 1980s. the democratic party was unchallenged in the south. and so a lot of the fraud occurred within the democratic party ranks because the republicans couldn't challenge. they didn't have the strength to challenge. so it was just kind of an acceptable part of the political regime. motive is to just simply stay in
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power. if you're a politician, you always thought it was important that you stay in power, that you had almost god-given rights to govern, and all of your friends and supporters felt the same way. so whatever was required to stay in power, you did it. and your friends accepted that, and even your enemies. the assumption is they would do it if they were in power. so they were reluctant as well to prosecute election fraud. arkansas is kind of off the beaten path. we're an insular state, a rural state, and we've never had much power. and from its inception it was a kind of a backwards state and never at the center of attention in the country. i guess the only time arkansas -- twice i guess
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arkansas has caught the national attention and that, of course, was in 1957 when the governor used the national guard to try to prevent integration at central high school setting off a constitutional crisis in this country, and the second time, of course, was in 1992 when our governor was elected president of the united states. election fraud in arkansas, i think anyway, is much diminished. you've had some serial changes. first of all, in the 1960s we got rid of the poll tax in arkansas and elsewhere in the south which was a, an easy tool for political bosses to use to manipulate the vote. that went out in 1964. then we had a permanent voter registration system which cured some of the problems, made election fraud more difficult. and then we got voting machines, another reform, in the 1960s
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and 1970s, and that also made some forms of election fraud more difficult. so i think elections are, by and large, much cleaner now than they were in that era, but still almost every election in arkansas, particularly eastern arkansas, there are examples of frauds and investigations, and we never quite get to the bottom of them, and it goes up and down through the courts, but we never quite resolve those issues. but it's still around, election fraud is still around. now it kind of takes somewhat of a different form. now there's more voter intimidation efforts now made to prevent people from voting, voting blocs. and that's, that's part of the, i think, the more predominant problem now than the actual stealing of votes. well, louisiana, of course, has the corner on colorful
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politicians, particularly with huey long, his brother, earl long. huey long in the '30s, his brother, younger brother, earl long, in the '40s and '50s. and then edwin edwards who was convicted of various forms of fraud when he was governor of louisiana. all of these are colorful characters. in arkansas we have, our characters are not quite as colorful, i guess. at least they don't get the country's attention like the longs did. but, you know, chicago also, you know with, you've got some colorful politicians in other states as well. but we just haven't got the national attention in arkansas. >> it's little rock weekend here on booktv. throughout the weekend hear from several local authors, tour the city and learn about some lesser-known history.
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arkansas beam the 25th state -- became the 25th state in 1836, and little rock was named the capital city. the area's best known for being the home of the clinton library and little rock central high. >> the story of nine interesting people from arkansas, people i heard about when i was doing fact checking for the encyclopedia, and one of the earliest, interesting people in arkansas was a plantation owner named charlie mcdermott. he grew up in louisiana and had family plantations down there, but he was looking for a place to resettle, and he really got fond of south ian arkansas -- southeastern arkansas and found some land that he really thought was special. so he purchased that land and built a house and was farming and brought his wife and their many children up to arkansas and were growing up there. but in addition to being a plantation owner and a farmer,
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charlie was an inventer. he made an iron wedge that was partly hollow but still just as strong so you could save metal and weight and do the same amount of footing work with it. charlie mcdermott thought man was meant to fly, so he tried as hard as he could to invent the airplane. he actually filed a patent for a device for traveling through the air. it had 20 pairs of wings and was operated like a bicycle. it was human-powered. and it was effective as a glider. if he got it high enough and got a good wind, he was actually able to travel short distances with it, and he was determined if chicken and the buzzard could fly, that man, too, could fly. eventually, women could fly to the store and pick up their food and get back again. if he had had a gasoline-powered mower, he could have flown. he would have been able to fly. he published articles about his flying device in scientific
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american and other devices. he traveled with it. came to the arkansas state fair here in little rock, went up to chicago, went to philadelphia. so there was lots of literature about his flying machine, and there's very little doubt that wilbur and orville wright saw some of his articles, maybe even a working model and borrowed some of his ideas. but they had a gasoline-powered engine, so they invented air flight and got all the credit for it. charlie mcdermott, he said for a thousand dollars he could buy a working model, and his neighbors raised a thousand dollars, and he was ready to put it on exhibition. and the night before there was a wind storm, and his working model crashed into a tree, and he wasn't able to invent it. charlie mcdermott didn't quite invent the airplane. >> from the american museum of natural history in new york city, astrophysicist neil degrasse tyson talks about the history of nasa and the


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