Over the next nine years, Markopolos and his small team of investigators went through what he describes as a “Twilight Zone” case, alerting the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to the fraud on five separate occasions, including in a 21-page document titled “The World’s Largest hedge Fund is a Fraud.”
But, the warnings fell on deaf ears, as the title of Markopolos’s 2010 book indicates: “No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller.” That is until the market collapsed and Madoff was forced to turn himself in in 2008.
Shortly afterward, Markopolos’s testimony helped restructure the SEC, which he says still needs a lot of work, along with the entire bank regulatory system. He’s been hailed as a “modern greek hero” by Congresswoman Jackie Speier, but he views his inability to bring Madoff to justice before the financial meltdown as more of a multi-billion dollar tragedy.
Markopolos, now a prominent private fraud investigator, is the subject of a documentary, “Chasing Madoff,” by filmmaker Jeff Prosserman. The will begin its theatrical run this Friday, Aug. 26, in New York City.
MetroFocus spoke with Markopolos about the film, his regrets, why financial regulators must be paid as well as Wall Street executives, his current career path and the psychology of the man he calls “a stone cold financial predator.”