Thursday, December 18, 2008

Beware of Bernies

When will we ever learn? Do not, under any circumstances, ever invest with a Bernie. Not a plugged nickel. Not a farthing. Not a peso, not a lira. Not anything with a Bernie – they’ll rob you blind every time.

Bernie Madoff. Good old Bernie. What a nice, genial, mild mannered, beneficent gentleman. What an honor, a privilege, to invest with this unassuming brilliant investor. He merely invented the modern OTC market.

Did I say brilliant, financial genius? He merely robbed the world’s most sophisticated investors, banks, financiers, movie moguls, NFL owners, hedge funds, Swiss bankers, financial advisors, charities and endowment funds, even a Senator of $50 billion. This Bernie has basically wiped out his admirers at the Palm Beach Country Club. Never spend a Weekend at Bernie’s.

He even duped the SEC, but that’s child’s play for a man of Bernie’s acumen. He knew the SEC couldn’t distinguish between real books and false books.

His Ponzi Scheme beats out the previous securities fraud earlier this Millennium of another Bernie, Bernie Evers of WorldCom. He only accounted for somewhere between $12 and 30 billion. Evers got 25 years in prison, but Madoff, that nice, sweet Madoff, only has to wear ankle bracelets for now.

Madoff wasn’t even the first Bernie with a Ponzi Scheme. That honors goes decades earlier to Bernie Cornfeld of the Investors Overseas Services (IOS) and his pyramid scheme Fund of Funds. Cornfeld was the opposite of Madoff - a certified rouge. He never had enough women wrapped round his shoulders. Names which come to mind include Victoria Principal and Heidi Fleiss. She screwed men; he screwed everyone.

Bernard is not always a safe name, especially when he is sometimes called Bernie. Thus, we have another mild manner, unassuming Bernard, an engineering grad of NYU, named Goetz, who as Bernard or Bernie Goetz, became known as the Subway Vigilante, who single handedly attempted to rid the New York City subways of muggers. The jury applauded his Clint Eastwood Make My Day imitation, acquitting him of all counts of assault and attempted murder.

One final Bernie comes to mind, Bernard “Bernie” Goldberg, six time EMMY winner for CBS. I love his conservative commentaries for FoxNews on the media bias of the Mainstream Media. But he turned on his employer of 28 years. I value loyalty.

One final, totally irrelevant comment. Barney is a fine name, especially if it's a retailer in New York. Barney, the purple dinosaur, is a load of barney.

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