Search the Site

Would a Fraud Bounty Have Exposed Madoff Years Ago?

Laura Goldman is a money manager who claims to have figured out back in the 1990’s, in the space of about 45 minutes, that Bernie Madoff was a fraud.
In this Fox Business interview, she discusses (very entertainingly) her encounters with Madoff. At the time, Goldman worked for Paine Webber (remember them?):

He was buying stocks and also trading options against the stocks, O.K.? And the thing is, my previous office had been in the Philadelphia Stock Exchange. I’m from Philadelphia, so I knew many of the market players in options in Philly. It’s too hard to track the trading of Microsoft, but it’s much easier for me to track the trading of the options. So I talked to the president of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange at that time, his name was Nick Giordano; I talked to big market makers like Susquehana, and none of them were doing business with Bernie Madoff. So I was a little curious about it. And then Bernie came back and told me that he was trading the options in Europe. Well, that didn’t really make sense to me, because trading in Europe is usually much more expensive than trading in the United States, especially for American stocks. So I said to myself, I don’t need this headache now. It basically took me 45 minutes to figure out something was wrong.

Now Goldman is agitating for regulatory change to lessen the chances of future frauds. “I am working with the S.E.C. to prevent another one,” she says. “One of my ideas is to pay a bounty for those that detect fraud. They already have one for insider trading. People on Wall Street are not Mother Teresas. They are not going to the S.E.C. unless there is something in it for them. Your friend James Altucher even says that in his Tech Ticker interview.”
Goldman is cited in this TIME article about fraud whistleblowing:

Goldman, who blew whistles on such notable investment frauds as First Jersey Securities, Bayou Hedge Fund, and Lydia Capital, among others, now has the full attention of S.E.C. Inspector Kotz‘s office. In all, Goldman says she has alerted the S.E.C. over 30 times and, despite its cold shoulder, through one means or another she has seen 25 of those tips lead to fraud charges being filed.

An S.E.C. whistleblower bounty is hardly a pipe dream; the I.R.S., among others, already pays for good info on frauds.