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  #1  
Old 01-01-2011, 09:29 AM
AllFreedomUnlessDefyingScience AllFreedomUnlessDefyingScience is offline
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Did Bernie Madoff steal the most money in history?

Madoff's Ponzi scheme is commonly said to have stolen $65 Billion, Investors lost about $20 Billion of actual money (as opposed to the larger figure which reflects how much he told them they had). Has anyone in history ever stolen this much money adjusted for inflation, short of, you know, conquering a country or something similar?

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Old 01-01-2011, 10:36 AM
Martin Hyde Martin Hyde is offline
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My understanding is that Bernie Madoff didn't personally steal anything close to $65 million, that was just the most liberal estimation of the total potential losses that could result from the Madoff ponzi scheme. I believe actual losses t investors were around $18 billion, and interestingly Madoff was not the largest beneficiary of the scheme, so I'm not sure how you really would do the calculation.

I guess you can still ascribe the full amount of the losses to Madoff since he ran the scheme (and we can view any other beneficiaries to be akin to fellow bank robbers who split the loot after the fact, or something.)

However adjusting for inflation I honesty doubt Madoff has the record for most money stolen.

Without even going back very far in history, I'd suggest someone look into the amount of money the Nazis stole from the Jews during the Holocaust adjusted for inflation.
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Old 01-01-2011, 10:44 AM
AllFreedomUnlessDefyingScience AllFreedomUnlessDefyingScience is offline
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Yes, but that's basically what I was talking about when I said conquering a country or something similar. I suspect that at least some of the time before the crash in '29 that some of the robber barons on Wall Street may have 'stolen' as much money with their 'pump and dump' strategies when they had a stranglehold on the market. Other than that though, I can't think of any crime not involving a government at work that is in Bernie's ballpark.
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Old 01-01-2011, 10:53 AM
Ludovic Ludovic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Hyde View Post
My understanding is that Bernie Madoff didn't personally steal anything close to $65 million, that was just the most liberal estimation of the total potential losses that could result from the Madoff ponzi scheme. I believe actual losses t investors were around $18 billion, and interestingly Madoff was not the largest beneficiary of the scheme, so I'm not sure how you really would do the calculation.

I guess you can still ascribe the full amount of the losses to Madoff since he ran the scheme (and we can view any other beneficiaries to be akin to fellow bank robbers who split the loot after the fact, or something.)

However adjusting for inflation I honesty doubt Madoff has the record for most money stolen.

Without even going back very far in history, I'd suggest someone look into the amount of money the Nazis stole from the Jews during the Holocaust adjusted for inflation.
But by that criteria, Hitler wouldn't count because he didn't personally benefit from the plundering of the Jews (he benefitted from the ubiquity of mein kampf but that's another story.)

I doubt even Goering amassed a personal wealth of $20 billion.
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Old 01-01-2011, 10:58 AM
Martin Hyde Martin Hyde is offline
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Originally Posted by Ludovic View Post
But by that criteria, Hitler wouldn't count because he didn't personally benefit from the plundering of the Jews (he benefitted from the ubiquity of mein kampf but that's another story.)

I doubt even Goering amassed a personal wealth of $20 billion.
Yeah, but like I said Madoff himself didn't personally get all the proceeds of his scheme (in fact evidence seems to suggest Jeffry Picower was the largest beneficiary.) So I'm really not sure what number we're trying to compare.
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