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Friday, December 19, 2008

The Maddoff Affair and Other Schemes

"In confusion there is opportunity," an up-and-coming, young professional told me one time. Years later, this same fellow was convicted on a federal felony charge and incarcerated. Apparently he had crossed the out-of-bounds line in the field of opportunity.

Nonetheless, that fellow's maxim is proving out as we see arising from the confusion of the Madoff Affair new opportunity for authors and publishers. Bernard Madoff, of course, was arrested last week on a charge of securities fraud. The alleged fraud may involve as much as $50 billion. The Wall Street Journal today reports that at least two publishers have acquired rights to a book about Mr. Madoff.

The other interesting fraud story today is that of Matthew C. Devlin. Devlin pleaded guilty to stealing confidential information from his wife, whose work involves deals concerning major Wall Street mergers and acquisitions. He used the stolen information to run a $5 million insider-trading scheme with a group of friends, including a former Playboy model. Devlin called his wife "the golden goose." I have this mental picture of Mr. Devlin: Caught by the SEC, public humiliation and punishment to come, contemplating the prospect of talking to his wife about it for the first time, and asking, "Do you think she'll be mad?"

The things that happen.

"Don't even think about saying 'things are going to the dogs,'" thought Daisy. "I am so not part of this."