This particular whistleblower says he was prepared to murder Bernard Madoff.
The Boston Herald piece by Jerry Kronenberg goes on:
The Boston financial whiz who tried for years to expose Bernard Madoff reveals in a new memoir that he made plans to murder the Ponzi schemer if necessary.
“If (Madoff) contacted me and threatened me, I was going to go down to New York and take him out,” Whitman resident Harry Markopolos writes in “No One Would Listen,” due in bookstores Tuesday. “At that point, it would have come down to him or me, (and) I felt I had no other options: I was going to kill him.”
“No One Would Listen” tracks Markopolos’ eight-year odyssey to warn the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that Madoff was running the largest investment scam in history.
Working for a Boston financial firm in 2000, Markopolos discovered the $65 billion Ponzi scheme while trying to reproduce Madoff’s unbelievable investment returns.
However, the SEC ignored Markopolos’ numerous warnings, and the scam only collapsed when Madoff turned himself in on Dec. 11, 2008. The global market meltdown had left the crook unable to come up with money his clients were clamoring to get back.
Markopolos, who skewered the SEC in televised testimony before Congress last year, has previously said he feared for his life during his long quest.
After all, Madoff faced years in prison if caught, and Markopolos thinks the scam’s victims included mobsters and drug dealers he believes laundered money through Madoff.
But in his book, Markopolos reveals for the first time just how far he went to protect himself.
A self-described math “nerd,” the 53-year-old had nonetheless served for nearly two decades as a U.S. Army Reserve officer.
So, Markopolos not only contemplated killing Madoff, but also routinely carried a gun, checked his car for bombs and varied his driving routes to thwart ambushes.
He even had his wife learn to use a pistol, assigning her the job of defending their home’s second floor if an attack came.
“How was (Madoff) going to respond if he found out that I was trying to bring him down?” Markopolos writes. “Was it better for Bernie to get rid of me, or let (his criminal clients) get rid of him?”
The whistleblower was also afraid of the SEC, fearing the agency wanted to cover up its mistakes.
Markopolos reveals that he readied a shotgun and his old army gas mask shortly after Madoff’s arrest, preparing to stage a standoff at his home if the agency arrived.
He planned to hold SEC staffers at bay until local police arrived and took possession of his files.
Other revelations in the book
■Markopolos met celebrity economist Ben Stein at a reception and offered him information about “several billion-dollar frauds.” Markopolos hoped Stein, best known for hosting the TV show “Win Ben Stein’s Money,” would use his fame to expose Madoff. However, an e-mail exchange between the two petered out.
■Markopolos is behind a lawsuit that California recently filed against State Street Corp., accusing the Hub financial giant of ripping off state pension funds on foreign-exchange trades. The expert calls the case just “the tip of (a) fraudulent iceberg.”
■The Madoff case isn’t the only scam Markopolos reported to the SEC. The whistleblower also gave the agency evidence of $20 billion in “market-timing” schemes by Wall Street firms, but the agency wasn’t interested.
■Markopolos almost tipped off Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin about Madoff, but had discussed market-timing cases with Galvin’s team and wasn’t impressed.
Galvin’s office protects Massachusetts investors, but Markopolos didn’t give him the market-timing cases, either. The whistleblower had become a professional fraud examiner by then and was looking for reward money, which the Bay State doesn’t offer.
■Madoff, who pleaded guilty last March and is now serving 150 years in prison, told the SEC in a jailhouse interview: “(Markopolos) thinks he’s some kind of seer, but believe me, it’s all overblown. You know what? He’s really a joke in the industry.”