Monday, November 4, 2013

Father's day in court

The trial of the Madoff helpers has opened, and Bloomberg carries this eyepopping transcript:

Under cross-examination today by Bongiorno’s lawyer, Roland Riopelle, Kugel agreed that he exposed his wife to federal tax charges by letting her sign joint tax filings over the years without warning her the papers contained false information about his inflated Madoff investment account.

Riopelle asked Kugel if he had put his wife at risk “for a few pieces of silver.”
After a delay of several seconds, Kugel said, “Yes.”

Kugel also agreed he had allowed his son Craig to join Madoff’s company around 2003 without warning him the firm engaged in fraud. His son, who worked in Madoff’s human resources department, pleaded guilty last year to a tax scheme that paid salaries and benefits to people who weren’t employees, including Bonventre’s son.

Kugel also agreed under questioning that he allowed his son and daughter, Heather, to open investment advisory accounts with Madoff, without warning them of the fraud.
“He had an account full of trades you knew to be fake?” Riopelle asked.
“Yes,” Kugel said.

Asked by Riopelle if he considers himself to be a good father, Kugel said yes.
I have often thought that it takes 2 (or more) sociopaths to generate the really horrible crimes. A lone sociopath can do damage, but it often seems that while lone sociopaths may have bad desires, they are comparatively harmless in excution. When they cross paths though, watch out.

I first cottoned on to this some 40 years ago in the case of a rogue cop in  the town where I was a reporter. He was accused of raping a 16-year-old girl.

While on bail before his trial, he was drinking in a saloon with two strangers, a Navy sailor and another guy, and telling them his troubles. He said he'd pay $50 if they'd kill the girl so she couldn't be a witness.

So they did.

I'm pretty sure that if he'd been drinking alone, he'd have cried in his beer but he wouldn't have killed her himself. And if the two strangers had instead met somebody and talked baseball, they wouldn't have killed anyone.

Madoff was a total solipsist, not caring that what he did might ruin his own children (and did; one killed himself); and no doubt he would have stolen money somehow on his own. But he couldn't have carried off as much as he did without helpers as conscienceless as himself.

How did he find them?

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