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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE WHOLE TRUTH.......?, 24 Feb. 2012
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This review is from: Bernie Madoff, the Wizard of Lies: Inside the Infamous $65 Billion Swindle (Paperback)
Having read 4 or 5 books on Bernard Madoff and his Ponzi Scheme, as well as the 'strange' confessional tome penned for 'whatever' purpose by an ex-girlfriend, the contents of which were not as exciting or racy as paint drying, Diana B Henriques's "Bernie Madoff - The Wizard Of Lies", comes closest to perhaps being the definitive version of the Life and Times of this most despicable con artist.

It is extremely well researched and written thus ensuring optimum levels of interest retention throughout the quite lengthy book. The author naturally covers a lot of the ground covered extensively by the media and other books already, dealing with the history, workings, escalating growth, and implosion of the 'fraud-to-end-all-frauds', as well as examples of some of the 'tales of hardship' among those ensnared by the allure of his greed orientated honeypot.

However, the strengths of this book lie in the attention to detail given on the role and modus operandi of the Trustee responsible for the untangling of the finances in the aftermath of the 'outing' of the giant embezzlement, Irving J Picard and his co-trustee David J Sheehan, and their strenuous and determined efforts to recover as much money as possible from those Madoff investors who unwittingly received more money back from the scheme over the years than originally invested. These investors were called Net Winners and were required to return the surplus money for distribution to the Net Losers, those having invested more than might have been repaid at the point of the frauds exposure.

Many Net Winners were pursued and $billions recovered, the largest individual amount was over $7 million prised from The Jeffrey Picower Family representing moneys withdrawn from the Madoff Scheme in excess of the amounts invested. The efforts of the Trustees will result in many investors who feared all was lost, getting some pay-back but it is too early to quantify the final amount.

Were any of the family complicit or aware of Madoff's nefarious activities? Ms Henriques leaves the reader veering towards the conclusion that as far as can be determined, none of Bernie's direct family, viz Wife and Sons were consciously aware of or could bring themselves to face the fact that he was a cheat and fraudster, whether out of love or naivety or, perhaps both.

The author had unprecedented access to Madoff in prison, including extensive correspondence, and undoubtedly is able to give the most definitive account of this complex, devious and without doubt heartless individual, that has yet been given. However, one gets the distinct feeling, particularly with regard to the sparsity of details concerning the beginnings of this Ponzi Scheme and the involvement of others, the entire truth has yet to pass his lips.....which is hardly surprising given his track record!

A book well worth the read.
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