While investors who lost tons of money by directly investing in the Madoff Ponzi Scandal may be unable to recover any money from his firm, those whose funds were invested indirectly through money managers may be able to proceed under a negligence theory.
While money management isn’t the focus of this blog, negligence is. And in today’s New York Times there is a story (European Banks Tally Losses Linked to Fraud) of how “a team from Societe Generale’s investment bank here was sent to New York to perform some routine due diligence” and easily discovered that the numbers didn’t add up. That was in 2003.
And here is the money quote from the article, and the reason other money managers who blindly dumped tons of money on Madoff, may be facing significant lawsuits:
The red flags at Mr. Madoff‘s firm were so obvious, said one banker with direct knowledge of the case, that Societe Generale” didn‘t hesitate [to blacklist the firm]. It was very strange.”
If they were obvious to this bank, why weren’t they obvious to others? This would help to drive a stake through the heart of a defense that Madoff was so crafty that no reasonable investigator would have found the fraud.
A phrase comes to mine: due diligence. Or lack thereof.
- Potential Madoff Litigation Ropes in More Lawyers (AmLawDaily)
- Hedge funds failed to spot Madoff risks (Business Week)
- Madoff fraud: “Deep pockets, look out” (Olson @ Point of Law)
- NY Law School Races to Court, Sues Merkin Over Madoff Investments (Slater @ WSJ Law Blog)