Bernie Madoff's Amazing Do-Nothing Business

Bernie Madoff's financial scam gets more impressive by the day. How long do you think he was defrauding people? Five years? Fifteen years? How about, oh, 40 years or so:

Officials at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, known as FINRA, told The Post that after examining more than 40 years' worth of financial records from Madoff's now-defunct broker dealer, there are no signs that Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities ever traded shares on behalf of the investment-advisory business at the center of the scandal.

The startling findings contradict statements that Madoff's advisory clients received showing hundreds, if not thousands of trades, completed by the broker dealer every year.

That means, according to these investigators, who went through the books back to 1960, all the trades he reported to his clients were totally fraudulent. This guy was a really good criminal. And it would seem logical that the longer they find that his scam went on, the more embarrassing it becomes that he wasn't caught—either by regulators or by the money managers who rushed to invest their clients' money with him.

Which is a really bad development for J. Ezra Merkin, the financier who funneled money from his clients—including Daily News publisher Mort Zuckerman, Clinton pardonee Marc Rich, and a bunch of universities and charities—into Madoff's hands, and ended up losing $2 billion. Merkin's now under investigation for fraud by the NY attorney general.

If all this makes you mad, just ponder the case of this financial manager who conned clients out of $600K, then lost it all to Nigerian email scammers. Karma works, if you let it. [NYP, NYT]