Shockwaves from the alleged Bernard Madoff investment fraud continue to spread around the world, with banks and financial institutions scrambling to add up their potential losses. Several charities have also been hit, including one set up by Oscar-winning film director Steven Spielberg. One American non-profit group lost its entire funding and may have to close. “I started to question my whole view of human existence,” said Francis Levy from the Philoctetes Center. “I started to get this feeling like maybe no, maybe what they are saying is true, maybe in fact he is a sociopath who has an indifference to human life.”
Madoff is accused of masterminding an illegal fraud, but recently he said no-one could operate outside the law. “It is virtually impossible to violate rules,” said Madoff. “This is something the public really does not understand. If you read something in the newspaper and you read that someone violates a rule, and you think everyone is doing it. But it is impossible for a violation to go undetected, certainly not for a considerable period of time.”
In the end, Madoff’s words proved prophetic. But it may be too late for his investors. The banks are talking about billions of losses, while the fallout may mean hundreds of pension funds, charities and individuals now face ruin.