The list of victims is staggering. I am still not sure how he stole $50 million, and I think when the dust settles the amount will be much less. I also think that he did not start with a plan to steal money but probably got sideways, made a few false statements to retain assets, and built his scam from there. Once a scam is started it can't be stopped without exposing the entire crime. If Madoff really pulled a Ponzi scheme, I wonder if the people who got paid out in full will have to give all or part of the money back? I suspect they will because the payments were made fraudulently.
Madoff reported year-end 2007 assets of $17 billion. This guy obviously could attract assets. Between trading revenue and management fees this guy could have lived large without the scam. If he had produced legitimate return figures and lost assets because of it, he still would have had significant money because people trusted him.
More sordid revelations about Madoff will surface over the next few days. The Madofff fraud is going to give the fund-of-funds business a permanent black eye. I never understood the wisdom of these funds with their high fees and low returns.