This horrific fraud is a perfect icon of the era of central banking, which began with a vengeance on August 15, 1971, when Richard Nixon ended the remnants of the gold standard, and unleased entirely discretionary monetary policy on the world. This enabled official and private crookery, and ended up distorting the entire world economy and leading to the worst depression in history. Apparently, some people saw through Madoff, or, at least, thought his consistent returns in the low double digits, down markets or up, were too good to be true. These people realized that the old saw is actually sage counsel: if it seems too good to be true, it invariably is. BTW, not only have many wealth families been wiped out, but foundations, universities, museums, and other important institutions have apparently had their endowments erased. How long before TARP makes these powerful interests whole, at the expense of working Americans?
UPDATE Even Swiss banks lost money to Madoff. Formery circumspect and conservative, they too went nuts in the boom.
On Madoff and the SEC, the ususal good sense from:
Peter Schiff, president of Euro Pacific Capital in New York, also raised concerns about the SEC's auditing of the firm. "Of course, the fact that the SEC routinely audited Madoff's investment company and found nothing wrong is further proof that government regulation of the securities industry is ineffective and has done more harm than good," he said. "Rather than protecting investors, it merely lulls them into a falls sense of confidence. If government stayed out, private-sector due diligence would do a much better job of ferreting out such massive and poorly conceived scams."
UPDATE from Chris: "Madoff 'made off' with people's money. Am I the only one to notice that?"