Warning signs Madoff investors ignored


About 50 seats were set aside in the courtroom today for people who lost millions because of Bernard Madoff. I hope they got some satisfaction, however weak, when he said, "I'm deeply sorry and ashamed" as he pleaded guilty. One can only wonder what they were thinking.

How did the investors ignore the warning signs that now appear obvious to everyone? The answer seems simple to me: the promised returns seemed too good to pass up. Madoff promised consistent returns of 10 percent to 12 percent and delivered -- or at least it appeared his investment strategy delivered on those terms. But it didn't really, as we have learned. Some even question whether he invested at all. Based on information from the trustee investigating the firm, there were no actual trades in at least the last 13 years.

Originally published