As you likely know, Bernie Madoff is the man who allegedly orchestrated a Ponzi scheme that ultimately defrauded investors out of $50 billion.
But the guy is 70 years old. Could he have done it himself? That’s what they’re asking on Wall Street.
The computer systems would have needed to be extensive. Supposedly, he was selling puts, buying puts, selling calls, buying stocks. Somebody had to sit there and buy stocks. Where are these people?"
It normally takes a team of accountants, stock brokers, lawyers and more to operate the kind of multibillion-dollar investment fund that Madoff ran from the 17th floor of his Park Avenue headquarters.
And the firm had clients around the globe. Simply generating the detailed financial statements investors got in the mail every month would have been a monumental effort for just one person, observers say, even if those reports were pure fantasy.
“It doesn’t make any sense,” muses Jon Najarian on Fast Money. "Somebody had to get wind that the numbers didn’t make sense. Maybe the accountant was on board with Madoff?”
All the other traders agree. Nobody on the desk thinks its possible that Bernie Madoff acted alone.
A Person Of Interest
One potential subject of the inquiry is the role played by Frank DiPascali, a top financial officer at Madoff's investment advisory business.
Several investors, their lawyers and a former Madoff employee who spoke to The Associated Press described DiPascali, of Bridgewater, N.J., as the man who appeared to be most responsible for the day-to-day operations of the business.
When clients had questions about the firm's investment strategy or its performance, DiPascali was the one who got on the phone. If they wanted to add or subtract money from their accounts, DiPascali made the arrangements and distributed the checks.
Authorities haven't publicly accused DiPascali of any wrongdoing. His attorney, Marc Mukasey, on Thursday declined to discuss his client's role or say whether he became aware of the fraud prior to Madoff's arrest.
To hear more about how Bernie Madoff and whether he could have run this Ponzi scheme alone, please watch the video.
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Trader disclosure: On Dec. 22nd, 2008, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s Fast Money were owned by the Fast Money traders; Adami Owns (AGU), (BTU), (C), (GS), (INTC), (MSFT), (NUE); Seymour Owns (AAPL), (BAC), (F), (MER), (DXO); Seygem Asset Management Owns (FXI), (EEM); Finerman's Firm Owns (MSFT); Finerman's Firm Owns (OIH) Puts; Finerman's Firm Is Short (IYR), (IJR), (MDY), (SPY), (IWM), (USO); CIBC Gartman Index Owns Soybeans, Gold, Natural Gas, Australian Dollar, Canadian Debt, Canadian Dollar; CIBC Gartman Index Is Short Crude Oil; CIBC Gartman Index Is Short Euro
CNBC.com with wires