Start adding up the extravagant expenses that Madoff apparently ran up under public scrutiny over 20 years, including income taxes paid and does not seem to add up to more than 300 -400 million dollars at most. If he reported income of around 15 million a year he could easily afford his life style with plenty of money left over. 400 million dollars is only 2.4 percent of 17 billion reports say he claims he ran for investors and lost. That is a huge discrepancy. If Madoff was putting away billions a year and reinvesting that with a nominal interest rate of say 5%-7%, tax free and compounded which an experienced investor could easily have achieved, he could easily have 100 billion dollars squired away. That would make him the richest non-monarch on earth. Bread is 70 which means he probably was running scams long before he started the alleged ponzi scheme which is just 20 years old. If Madoff does have substantial secret asset in the billions the name of this ponzi scheme should be changed to a Madoff Scheme. Look at where he is living in NYC, 133 East 64th street. You can find the place on google maps. It is right around the corner from Lexington Avenue and just a block from throed avenue. His 7 million dollar penthouse may have only cost him a million bucks when he purchased it , maybe less. The average Ponzi schemer would have a much more noticeable address in Manhattan. He does have the penthouse with a roof top terrace but it over looks Lexington avenue not very far from Bloomingdales. How exciting is that? It is expensive living there. The Palm beach place probably cost more but he did not buy it at the top of the market either.
Bernard seems to be enjoying all the attention with a big fat smirk on his face signaling that he won the game he played and that he has all the bargaining chips and probably nothing to loose. Some of the money spent is likely to be a cheap reading thrill if he bought and paid for a few politicians along the way even that does not add up to a billion dollars. One theory is that Bernard may have just paid out quite a lot of interest and principle as the investors required it and only siphoned off his living expenses. He certainly pretended to be really charitable but when he was giving charities money it might have been their own. That was one hell of a charitable gift. Bernie advertised that he could get people a 12-15% compounded annual return with rarely a bad year. He also informed his investors that he would not charge them fees because as broker handling their accounts he was satisfied with the commission. It is quite conceivable that he was not lying about that and could have kept up his living expenses that way but then 17 to 50 billion dollars would not have had to disappear.
Believing Bernard , there is nothing left to pay investors back because he was running a ponzi scheme but his ponzi scheme does not seem to have any big expenses. That means he might have actually been loosing investors money in trading or he stashed it away. This is a guy who is careful with money and does actually know how to run a brokerage business. If he did stash away cash and had 100 billion or more why wouldn’t he have covered the investor claims and avoided having to admit to fraud? It probably comes down to assets having lost value at least temporarily or it happens that Bernie never retrieves money from his overseas accounts so as not to make those sources of funding conspicuous to authorities with a check being processed. After 911 , Bernie was aware that check processing laws were changed such that the US government got access to screening foreign bank account records and check clearing if you remember that revelation. Bernie would have known exactly how it worked . The government may have even seen the transfers but not realized they were a Madoff alias? Chances are Bernie used some charitable trust to make the transfers so no one would have cared to notice. Bernie knows intimately the financial business of charitable trusts. This increases the chances that Bernie’s stash is substantial and growing. He might have made all his transfers in plain sight with legitimate banks and even though client banks. There is a good chance his assets are in natural resources or something that recently collapsed in value but then that might just be an excuse and a distraction to investigators so his cache of real money is never discovered.
This analysis could be completely wrong if it turns out that Madoff was just a lousy investor loosing most of the money on bad trades or wild gambles. If he were making huge bad trades they probably would not have been missed by regulators. Evidence is showing he did less trading than would have been required to generate his reported returns. The theory that he maybe the world’s richest man and smiling because of that is not very far fetched. He seems to be having the last laugh. It is too bad Bill Clinton is not still president , he could have gotten a pardon in exchange for contributing to a presidential library. If Bernie really is the evil genius he seems to be the money he stashed away could surface as half a trillion dollars 30 or 40 years from now but for what purpose? Hiding billions of dollars maybe easier than hiding elephants, Bernie could secretly own the off shore banks he keeps the money in with the kind of money it may happen to be. if that is the case there is probably a multiplicity of other ponzi like schemes off shore he is responsible for. We can see it now. Bernie gets 14 years in prison and is sent to the Palm Beach Florida Country Club prison where he virtually buys everyone off in the entire prison and only spends only one week day there so he can instruct his new boiler room operators on how to keep the scam going.