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‘Madoff: The Monster Of Wall Street’ Episode 1: Recap And Ending: Who Is Bernard Madoff? What Did He Do?

Stock markets are indeed an essential component for the growth of a country’s economy. However, the repercussions of financial markets could affect the economies of different countries. And here comes the New York stock market at Wall Street, which once shared the largest shareholdings of companies (both small and large) that could not access accreditation on the NYSE and NASDAQ and traded through brokers. Created by Joe Berlinger, the miniseries “Madoff: The Monster of Wall Street” is based on a true crime report that uncovers Bernard Madoff’s prototype of the world’s biggest money-laundering scam in the historical record. The four-part episodic documentary series is currently streaming on Netflix and features eminent authors, investigators, panelists, and employees of Madoff giving interviews and sharing facts.

Spoilers Ahead

Rising Of The Trading Territory

The first episode, titled “A Liar, Not a Failure,” delves into how the American financier operated the largest Ponzi scheme by fleecing thousands of stockholders for more than seventeen years. Erin Arvedlund, a journalist for Wall Street Magazine, and Diana B. Henriques (author of “The Wizard Of Lies) start giving the basic information about Madoff in the beginning. Upbringing and parenthood are major aspects that influence a child’s dreams and destiny. Bernie’s childhood waxed and waned through time. After the “Great Depression” and the 1950s war, people started fleeing to the suburban areas, finally escaping the oppressive urban environment. Compelled by the conformist culture, Bernie’s father, Ralph, the Jewish immigrant, relocated to a Tudor-style house in Laurelton, outside of New York City. Ralph was involved in several odd professions, whereas his wife Sylvia was a housewife. Bernie offered 25 cents to a neighborhood girl to be his playmate, and that made him realize that money could drive people crazier than anything. In the early days, he developed such a negative impression of money marketing, but it became more transparent when his family faced a huge tax evasion that made his mother work in the local blood bank. In his school days, he was a hotshot and a reliable person to others, as if he were destined for victory. Law was a dream for his parents, but Bernie didn’t continue his studies after one year of admission. Ruth Alphen, his high school sweetheart, later became his life partner too. It was a plus for Bernie as his father-in-law, Saul Alphen, was dealing with an accounting business. In the 1960s, when the investment market on Wall Street was facing a flamboyant success rate, Madoff and his partner Ruth were seen striving to barter over-the-counter shares. This gives birth to a skillful businessman and his financial saga, which is going to amaze the audience.

Bernie Madoff’s Rigmarole To Defraud Investors

Apart from Saul’s enterprise, Bernie, the mastermind started his secondary source of profit by opening an investment advisory where he promised the investors to come up with higher returns; rather than taking commissions, he made it a fee-based business which was more cost-effective – seems a pretty smart idea, right? But Bernie didn’t register his advisory business with The U.S Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which would cost him $30000 dollars in the Flash Crash back in 1962. Here hits the twist- Madoff borrowed the estimated money from Saul and paid back all clients to make a clean breast. He believes that it is better to be a fibber than a disaster. Thanks to Avellino and Bienes, who expanded the convincing stock trading by bringing a tribe of clients, alongside handling the consulting business. Bernie and his brother Peter, with incredible vision, inaugurated an office on Wall Street with computerized trading that instantly brought customers to them. Starting from only five thousand dollars, the duo proliferated around twenty thousand shares on random days with the grace of computers in the 1970s, when the electronic brain was still out of the way for the market makers.

Soon enough, Bernie climbed the ladder of success and started buying properties in posh areas like Roslyn, Long Island, the Penthouse in Manhattan, and a summer house in Montauk. He had complete control over the trading world; if he bought things, the market would rise, and if he sold them, the market would sink. In 1987, his office moved to 3rd Avenue, inside the classic skyscraper known as the Lipstick Building, with a lavish interior, the ultimate high-tech facility, dot-matrix printers, bright light, and bay windows, as informed by Ellen Halles (a former trader). Bernie’s personal secretary, Eleanor Squillari, states that the office hired only close friends and relatives, including Mark and Andy, the sons of Ruth and Bernie. In that warm and supportive environment, you will find Madoff defined as someone who walks all the way with a cigar smothering between his lips, checks out his employees, and tilts the computer screen back into alignment. This seems more like compulsive behavior. Between all the verbal abuse, bullying, and outrage, the philanthropist had a generous and charitable nature toward his family and staff.

It was October 19, 1987, when the downturns accelerated in a short span of time, resulting in a significant market plunge and financial crisis. But somehow, the catastrophic “Black Monday” turned out to be a blessing for Madoff’s agency, as he bought a lot of stocks from customers when other agencies were drowning in losses.

Journey To The New Peaks

It’s phenomenal that Madoff was able to keep his secret advisory framework hidden for so long. A few of the traders had implored the SEC to conduct an investigation of Madoff’s investment strategies back in 1992. The SEC had executed countless efforts but had failed to catch the malfeasance, which is equal to $444 million dollars. Frank Dipascalli, the fiduciary attached to Bernie Madoff, eventually covered up the feeder fund with the help of three renowned investors: Jeffery Picower, Carl Shapiro, and Worman Lavy. The first episode ends with an interview with Gordon Bennett, an old man who laid out money (worth $100000) into Bernie’s fund for steady returns. Whereas Bernie needs more space to broaden the horizons of his Ponzi scheme, thus allowing Dipascalli to be the king of the 17th floor for “100% safe and risk-less investment.” The dirty business kept on growing, fooling thousands of people who were promised paradise but received woe from the omniscient wizard of the stock market.


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