A decade after Bernie Madoff’s infamous Ponzi scheme, Reveal, an investigative podcast, approached Jim Mintz, CEO of Mintz Group, for some clarity on today’s risks of financial fraud and crypto currency. Jim expressed skepticism that investors are safer now than they were when Madoff pled guilty and went to prison.
The show told the story of how Madoff took in about $16 billion in investors’ money, and over the years lied that their funds had grown to $60 billion. In fact, he had invested not one dollar, on the way to losing all of it.
“There’s no cavalry coming”
Another financial fraud expert interviewed on the show, produced by the Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX, said that since Madoff’s arrest, investors have become safer. The reasons, he said, were the Dodd-Frank financial-regulation law of 2010, and because the SEC has tightened its enforcement procedures.
Mintz expressed another view, saying the investors “live in a savage world, a place where nothing protects you except yourself. There’s no cavalry coming over the hill.”
No “new seatbelt the government has given us”
“I’m here to tell you that out in fraud land, where I do my investigative work, there doesn’t seem to be any protection or new seatbelt the government has given us,” Mintz said.
“The opportunities for fraud have grown since 2008 and Bernie Madoff because of the Internet and because of the flattening of the world,” he said. “So that there are opportunities that seem attractive for us to put our money in that are thousands of miles away.”
“Everybody’s talking about crypto-currencies,” Mintz added. “If you listen carefully to how regular people talk about it, it’s almost as if they talk a little faster, or a little like they’re having trouble breathing while they’re talking about it.
“Those are the signs you’re entering a danger zone.”