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In the News Madoff Saga

October 29, 2009

One of 16 clips we offer from correspondent Martin Smith's juicy interview with Michael Bienes.

As far back as the late '60s, Bienes and his partner recruited investors for Madoff. By the time the SEC shut them down for being unlicensed (1992), they had 3200 clients with $441 million invested with "Bernie." When many of those clients then decided to set up individual accounts with Madoff, that sparked the expansion of Madoff's massive fraud, according to the SEC's ongoing investigation.

After viewing this clip, you'll want to sample the rest.

Read the transcript, too, of Bienes' extended interview, and the Financial Times' report on the latest tally of cold cash lost by investors: $21 billion -- and counting.



I wonder if Michael Bienes had one of the 245 "special" Madoff accounts set up for family and friends. The special accounts had unusually high returns of 100% or more and didn't employ the famous split strike strategy.

He certainly would have known that his customers weren't getting the same deal he did.

mrs p / October 31, 2009 6:23 PM

I think Bienes whole interview was entertaining, yet good and informative. Thanks Frontline.

Ronald Williams Jr / November 1, 2009 1:08 AM

SEC Report - Exhibit 117 is an interview with Avellino & Bienes. Bienes seems to understand arbitrage pretty well.

mrs p / November 2, 2009 12:52 PM

I too think the Bienes interview was unexpectedly and extraordinarily entertaining. I've never seen anything quite like it. And yes, informative and insightful. He wasn't completely forthcoming but that is understandable.

Q. Dey / November 3, 2009 12:21 AM

Extraordinarily entertaining work of fiction. Bienes is a first rate con man and frustrated actor. Supposedly,the Bieneses were so broke, his wife was going to have to sell their Ft Lauderdale estate immediately. Almost a year later and it still hasn't been sold.

mrs p / November 4, 2009 8:10 PM

i would like to have a beer with him but he still is an untransparent crook

barry Haines / November 10, 2009 7:58 PM

In his will which was made public yesterday, Jeffry Picower left $220k to his niece who is also the daughter of Michael Bienes. (Picower's sister was married to Bienes.) The niece apparently is incapacitated in some way. I wonder if famously charitable Michael Bienes ever looked after her needs.

mrs p / November 11, 2009 9:11 AM

Most interesting and informative.

naoma foreman / November 13, 2009 4:16 PM

How do these people live with themselves?

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Doris / February 20, 2010 4:51 AM

LOL - Irving Picard, the bankruptcy trustee, filed a $900 million suit against Avellino and Bienes on Friday. In it, he provides irrefutable evidence that A&B were crooks who lied to the SEC. He also mentions the Frontline interviews several times and points out the spots where Michale Bienes lied.

I hope icard gets every nickel Michael Bienes has left.

mrs p / December 13, 2010 7:07 PM

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