Business Ethics Bernard Madoff

In: Business and Management

Submitted By amystn
Words 1676
Pages 7
Bernard Madoff was either the most ethically void individual or he just had no regard for ethics. He managed to pull off one the largest Ponzi scheme in history with very little help. He had a legitimate stock trading business on one floor and his illegitimate investment management business was on another floor (Ferrell, Ferrell & Fraedrich, 2011). The top executives in the company were family which leads to the question, did they really not know? This paper will examine the origin of the Ponzi scheme, a brief history of Bernie Madoff, and the fallout as a result of his fraudulent business.
A Ponzi scheme is “a fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to investors out of the money paid by subsequent investors rather than from legitimate profits (Fitzpatrick, 2010).” The Ponzi scheme was named after Carlo (Charles) Ponzi who fled Italy for America at the age of 21. In 1919 Ponzi developed a scheme to get investors to buy postage coupons in one country and then sell them for more money in another country (Wells, 2009). Instead of investing the money he used the pooled funds to pay investors. This lasted until 1920 when a federal audit confirmed he was bankrupt, he had scammed investors for more than $4 million (Wells, 2009).
According to Wells (2009), the Madoff scheme “...may be the largest single fraud of any kind in history...” The estimated total of the Madoff scheme is $65 billion, it is the largest financial fraud in the history of Wall Street. On December 11, 2008 it all came crashing down (Fitzpatrick, 2010). Due to the financial downturn of the global economy Madoff realized that his scheme was coming to an end, the new investors were decreasing which meant soon he would not be able to pay existing investors. In order to avoid suspicion Madoff reported modest returns, however Ponzi schemes are pre-destined to fail due to the fact…...