December 30, 2008
While Bernard Madoff is being investigated for his alleged $50 billion fraud scheme, a report says he is considering an insanity defense.
“Bernie’s family and his attorneys may argue that, somewhere along the line, he had a mental break,” a Madoff acquaintance told the New York Daily News.
“They may even say he has a multiple personality disorder,” the source added
Madoff’s business began to collapse this fall as investors, hit by the financial crisis and seeking cash, started taking money out faster than Madoff could bring fresh cash into the country.
A quiet force on Wall Street for decades, Madoff was arrested on December 11 after confessing to his two sons that his entire business was “a giant Ponzi scheme.”
The case is still viewed more with mystery than clarity and regulators have not yet verified the scale of the fraud, which may rank among the biggest scams ever.
The FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Wall Street regulator, are investigating Madoff and individuals who may have helped him overseas.
Meanwhile, Madoff’s family fears that he may follow suit in the footstep’s of Rene-Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet, a Madoff client who slit his wrists last week.
“He has a very low affect. Bernie barely speaks,” the Daily News quoted a source as saying.
Madoff’s attorneys are expected to argue that he committed the fraud during manic and euphoric periods or that he was so delusional that he convinced himself the investment returns were real.
Authorities say thousands of people are caught up in the apparent multi-billion-dollar scheme.
According to Times Online, the federal investigators believe Madoff would not have been able to pull off a fraud of such magnitude without significant international assistance.
The 70-year-old financier, the former chairman of the Nasdaq stock market, is currently under house arrest in his $7 million New York City apartment.