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Vanity Fair: How Madoff Duped His Closest Friends

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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-13-09 03:55 PM
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Vanity Fair: How Madoff Duped His Closest Friends

An elevator opening onto the mysterious 17th floor of the Lipstick Building, in Manhattan, where a small staff helped to manage Bernard Madoffs exclusive investment fund. Photograph by Stephen Wilkes.

Madoffs World

Among Bernard Madoffs many dupes were his closest friends, including two tycoons he loved as surrogate fathers: the late Norman F. Levywhose girlfriend, supermodel Carmen DellOrefice, would lose her life savingsand the prominent philanthropist Carl J. Shapiro. Amid the sobs, screams, and curses in Aspen, Palm Beach, and New York, with victims sharing their stories, the author gets behind Madoffs affable faade, to reveal his most intimate betrayals.

by Mark Seal April 2009

Over dinner in New York one night in January, I was airing my frustration concerning Bernard Madoff. Everybody had read about the losses he had inflicted on foundations associated with Steven Spielberg, Elie Wiesel, and Mort Zuckerman, I told my dinner companions, but after having interviewed nearly 40 of his other financial victims, I still couldnt get a picture of what the man was like. If you want to know about Bernie Madoff, said Mary T. Browne, the renowned psychic and author, who counsels many heavy hitters on Wall Street, you need to talk to my friend Carmen DellOrefice. She was referring to one of the original supermodels, the platinum-blonde beauty who had posed for Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Francesco Scavullo, and Norman Parkinson, and who had been a muse to Salvador Dal. She had first appeared on the cover of Vogue in 1946, when she was 15. Nobody can give you better insights into the Madoffs than Carmen, Browne told me. Ill see if shell talk to you.

Two days later, when I arrived at her Upper East Side apartment, DellOrefice was ready for me. Still gorgeous at 77, she led me to her bedroom, where she had laid out on her king-size coverlet piles of intimate photographs, canceled checks, and reams of investment statements spelling out her relationship with Madoff. Mary T. Browne was right. She had quite a story to tell.

Model Carmen DellOrefice, the girlfriend of the late Norman Levy, two days before she learned she had been cleaned out by Madoff. By David X. Prutting/PMc.

It began in the fall of 1993. Six years after the death of her fianc, the legendary television impresario and talk-show host David Susskind, a neighbor introduced Carmen to Norman F. Levy, a giant of mid-century New York City real estate, who, along with such titans as Harry Helmsley and Samuel LeFrak, had helped shape the city by filling its skyscrapers with blue-chip tenants. Then 80 and a widower, Levy had retired to a good life of travel, philanthropy, and passive investing, most notably with his best friend, Bernie Madoff.

On Valentines Day 1994, after four months of dating, Levy made what Carmen called his grandstand play for her affection. He instructed her to meet him at the office of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, in the Lipstick Building, the oval red-granite monolith at 53rd Street and Third Avenue designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee. Bring your checkbook, he said.

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WI_DEM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-13-09 03:58 PM
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1. "intimate photos"...well
Edited on Fri Mar-13-09 03:59 PM by WI_DEM
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Tangerine LaBamba Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-13-09 03:59 PM
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2. My copy just arrived!!!
VF is such a great magazine! I always put it aside, waiting until I can sit and read right through it. This story looks intriguing, and will this Madoff thing ever end? There's something so wrong about how it's going. I can't quit nail what it is, though.

First, that he was let out on bail - that threw me.

Next, that he simply pled guilty. No plea bargain, and that means he'll give up no information. Is that his way of falling on his sword to protect his sons and other family members who may have been in on the scam?

How did this caper go undetected for so long?

It's full of holes, this whole story..........
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Big Blue Marble Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-13-09 05:37 PM
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3. Amazing read.
It was like a giant soap opera gone bad only real people got hurt, destroyed.

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acmavm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-13-09 06:05 PM
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4. The wife knew what was going on...
Edited on Fri Mar-13-09 06:43 PM by acmavm

While Bernie spent his freshman year at the University of Alabama—at that time, some say, an easier entrance portal for students who couldn’t get accepted into eastern colleges—Ruth passed the entrance requirements for Queens College. “She graduated and had a job on the stock market in Manhattan. She was a very smart girl and a very good student.” Once Bernie had gotten through Hofstra University and attended Brooklyn Law School for a year, the couple fled Queens and never looked back. In 1960 they began working together at Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, which Bernie founded with his savings of $5,000 from lifeguarding and installing sprinkler systems. From the start, Ruth’s office was right next to her husband’s.

edit: she was in on it in the beginning, she went everywhere he went (the article said she never let him out of her sight), and she was taking money out as Bernie was confessing his crimes.

She knew.

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scarletwoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-13-09 07:20 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. I think you may have hit on the crux of the matter. Was it really all HER doing?
Was Bernie just a doofus being pushed around by a conniving wife? The whole thing is just so weird!

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acmavm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-13-09 10:24 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. I don't know who's doing it was but that article goes on to say that two of
the guys in trouble with old Bernie worked for her father at one time, and I believe it said that one had already been prosecuted for running a ponzi scheme.

I couldn't even begin to guess who was the brains behind this whole criminal enterprise, but no doubt in my mind that old Ruth was in it up to her eyebrows.
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MasonJar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-13-09 08:33 PM
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6. Madoff is scum. He scammed his friends. What do these ever-expanding
Edited on Fri Mar-13-09 08:34 PM by MasonJar
Wall Street crooks do with the extra money they cheat consumers of? How do these people enjoy their unjust rewards? How do they sleep at night? The inscrutable Bernie Madoff thief. for example, even absconded with Elie Weisel's funds to help fellow concentration camp, etc. Jewish victims.
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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Mar-13-09 08:47 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. Elie Weisel losing all his funds really hurt the worst to me, though there
are so many stories out there from so many people. How could he have done this? No conscience that I can see.
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