Evidence has emerged that a certain Harry Markopolos may have detected Bernard Madoff's fraud almost a decade ago. However, his warnings to regulators were largely ignored.
Markopolos, a derivatives expert and former chief investment officer at Rampart Investment Management in Boston, first raised his concerns with an examiner in the SEC's Boston office in 2000, saying that Madoff's returns were too good to be true, and pressed the agency to scrutinize Madoff's business until last year.
In 2005 he sent a 19-page report to the SEC titled "the World's Largest Hedge Fund is a Fraud..." concluding it was "highly likely" that "Madoff Securities is the world's largest Ponzi scheme." Using mathematical models and charts, Markopolos outlined 29 "Red Flags" in a virtual blueprint of how to investigate Madoff, calling his returns "too good to be true" and saying he worried about his "personal safety."
In the document Markopolos stated:
Bernie Madoff is running the world's largest unregistered hedge fund. He's organised this business as [a] "hedge fund of funds privately labeling their own hedge funds, which Bernie Madoff secretly runs for them using a split-strike conversion strategy getting paid only trading commissions which are not disclosed." If this isn't a regulatory dodge, I don't know what is.
Markopolos, a native of Erie, Pennsylvania, is a past president of Boston Security Analysts Society Inc. and worked at Boston-based Rampart Investment Management Co. from 1991 through 2004, ultimately becoming its chief investment officer. Markopolos graduated from Cathedral Preparatory School in 1974. He received an undergraduate degree from Loyola College in Maryland in 1981 and an MS in finance from Boston College in 1997. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE).
SEC Inspector General H David Kotz said his group will interview Markopolos as part of their investigations. Markopolos' contribution was hailed by Congressman Barney Frank who said the money manager "is looking like the hero here." The man had cancelled his scheduled appearance in Congress on Monday because he was ''worn down'' and wanted more time to prepare his remarks.