Bernie Madoff claims he tried to tell people as early as 2005 — three years before he was arrested — that his empire was nothing more than an elaborate pyramid scheme, according to a new documentary.
Makers of the audio documentary “Ponzi Supernova” obtained a 2012 tape recording of Madoff answering questions in a lawsuit filed by plaintiffs suing Banco Santander’s Optimal Investment Services, which had invested with him.
Madoff said investors came to him with suspicions that he wasn’t really making any profitable trades.
But when he told them the truth, they laughed it off — and didn’t go to authorities, the imprisoned cheat said.
“Well they [suspicious investors in 2005] would, they would ask me that, you know, with a smile, ‘You’re not — are you really doing these trades?’ or ‘You know, and so on and so forth?’ ” Madoff testified in a 2012 deposition.
“And sometimes, I would say, ‘No, I’m not [making any trades].’ They would laugh, and then that would be the end of it. They didn’t want to believe it.”
Madoff’s claim that he was trying to come clean years ago is featured in the sixth and final part of “Ponzi Supernova,” which is being posted Thursday on Amazon’s spoken-word platform, Audible.
Madoff also claimed hedge-fund managers who invested with him should have known the returns they were seeing were mathematically impossible.
“Something Fishy” is the title of Thursday’s installment of “Ponzi Supernova.”
“I thought they didn’t want to understand. I thought that was . . . willful blindness,” said Madoff, who is now 78.
As long as he kept reporting profits, hedge-fund managers didn’t care to ask questions, Madoff said, “because they never, they never really objected.”
“Supernova” documentarian Steve Fishman said he agreed with Madoff that the con man’s biggest investors likely knew something was up — but stopped short of acting as long as paper profits kept piling up.
“They ignored all the warning signs. And those warning signs were really explicit and big,” Fishman said Wednesday.
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