Doesn't Pay to Be Bernie's Buddy Anymore

Bad news for Madoff associates -- some of whom reside in Broward and Palm Beach counties -- who were hoping Bernie would take his secrets to the grave. Hot from the AP wire:

A lawyer for victims of Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme says the financier told him during a 4 1/2-hour prison interview plenty of details about the fraud, including how it took place and how securities regulators missed catching him.

The San Francisco lawyer, Joseph Cotchett, said he planned to use what he learned Tuesday to add defendants to a lawsuit to be filed in Manhattan this week on behalf of investors harmed by the multibillion-dollar scam.

"It was an extraordinary visit," Cotchett said. "He was very candid, very open, and answered every one of our questions." (bold is mine)

Of course, Palm Beach residents Carl Shapiro and Robert Jaffe don't have anything to worry about, because they say they had no idea about Madoff's diabolical plan. They just vouched for him to investors. Nor did a couple of guys with Broward ties who helped bring investors to Bernie's Ponzi scheme, Michael Bienes and Frank Avellino.

Besides, Cotchett's working a civil case. He can't throw these "philanthropists" in jail. Unfortunately for Madoff's pals, however, criminal investigators can do that. And they're investigating Shapiro, Avellino, and Jaffe, among others who made money off Madoff.


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