Stitch and Bear

A long-running Irish blog with reviews of the best restaurants in Dublin and throughout Ireland. Some wine and cocktails thrown in for good measure!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

No One Would Listen - Harry Markopolos

Bernie Madoff has gone down in the history as the man behind the world's largest known Ponzi scheme. When his scheme collapsed following the market crisis of 2008, hundreds of investors lost their savings with the total loss estimated at being in excess of $50 billion. 

The truly shocking part of this story is that this terrible loss could have been mitigated - if the Securities Exchange Commission had heeded the warnings of Harry Markopolos. In the years preceding the collapse, Markopolos had filed no fewer than 5 complaints against Madoff, all of which had been lost or ignored by the SEC watchdog. It is tragic to read of Markopolos' repeated efforts to bring this to the attention of the authorities and the mind boggles at how all these red flags could have been ignored.

Markopolos does tell an intriguing and well-written story. However, I must admit that it is rare to read a book where I've actively disliked the author. Markopolos has a strong character (stubbornness is especially obvious) and I can see how individuals in authority might have taken a dislike to this man. But when fraud on such a massive scale is being alleged, personal likes and dislikes should not come into the picture.

Markopolos' revelations led to him testifying in front of government and has triggered a review of staffing and procedures at the SEC. His work has led to significant change and it cannot be underestimated. Read this story and marvel at a tale of ineptitude and dedication.

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