Savvy Investors Were Ponzi Scheme Victims

Bernard L. Madoff
AP/New York Times
Like a mutant virus, the financial fallout of Bernard Madoff's multi-billion-dollar scheme continues to spread across the United States, Europe and Asia, touching everyone from the anonymous rich in ritzy Palm Beach to A-list Hollywood directors, Nobel Laureates and former NFL owners like Norman Braman, reports CBS News Chief Investigative Correspondent Armen Keteyian.

"Madoff has just hurt so many innocent people who really didn't deserve to be hurt," Norman Braman, former owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, says.

Braman joins an ever-widening circle of victims in the $50 billion Ponzi scheme. Including:

  • New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon;
  • New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg, who entrusted his family's charitable foundation to Madoff;
  • Foundations tied to Nobel prize winner Elie Wiesel and Academy Award Winning Director Steven Spielberg;
  • Mort Zuckerman, owner of the New York Daily News, estimated his charity lost $30 million;
  • Clients and shareholders in Europe's biggest banks and hedge funds, who had investment accounts with Madoff, lost billions;

    All of this raising questions as to how the SEC could have investigated Madoff in 2007 - without bringing charges.

    "The question is what did they see, what did they know, and why did the investigation close?" says former SEC attorney Jacob Frankel.

    At Madoff's securities firm in Manhattan a small squadron of investigators was digging through records. Trying to determine if, as some believe, money is stashed overseas, and whether or not Madoff could have cooked a complicated set of books - as he claimed - all by himself.

    "It's hard to believe one person could have pulled off such a large fraud," Frankel said.

    Already two charitable foundations have shut down; and many in Palm Beach are reportedly putting jewels, and even these condos up for sale, Keteyian reports. The price of trusting a man destined, it appears, to set a whole new standard for fraud.
    By Armen Keteyian