Thursday, December 18, 2008

Madoff Mess Worse!

Fortunately for me, all my cash was (and is) tied up in short-term debt.

Others are not so lucky; they tossed cash into Madoff. Now it gets worse.

...a legal precedent set in the Bayou case that should scare the heck out of anyone who once invested with Madoff but who managed to get out safely in the last few years: Any investors who managed to take out profits from a fund like Bayou before the fraud was revealed had to give the money back.

...Much of the money that Madoff managed came from people who'd written a check not to Madoff directly but to so-called "funds-of-funds": hedge funds that had raised money from investors. A few of these funds-of-funds, such as Fairfield Sentry and Tremont Group's Rye Investment, had billions of dollars invested with Madoff and teams of auditors to track it. These companies should have wised up to what was going on much earlier.

Thanks to the Bayou court decisions, however, the moment Madoff was revealed as a fraud, any money that these funds-of-funds would have managed to take back would become gains that have to be given back to be redistributed among all the losers in the Madoff scheme. Now, this sounds bad enough, but ... again, there's more. There's no time limit on the gains they'd have to give back, so any fund that outed Madoff could be on the hook for any profits it had gained from its Madoff investments for years back.

Which means that the local firm which directed money to Madoff is in for a long, long, long, (and very complex) time in Hell Federal court.

HT: McArdle

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