Any opinions on why Madoff didn't flee in the weeks before this came to a head?

In the weeks before he confessed, he apparently privately told some co-workers and family what was going on, and what was about to happen. He knew he was going to prison or at the very least, have all his assets taken. What keeps a person in that situation from taking the money thats left and heading to Brazil?

Shielding his children and family by taking all the blame for himself?

He’s going to be taken care of for the rest of his life. What more could he want?

Also, during the dozen or so years he kept the scheme afloat, are we to believe that when an investor decided to cash in, Madoff was personally withdrawing millions from a Chase Manhattan account and personally signing a check without anyone else knowing? Who was handling the taxes on all this? Did anyone question why Madoff’s company had a few billion dollars sitting in a Chase account with an occasional massive withdrawal?

He was shadowed day and night by elite special forces (aka Paparazzi) and would have been shot on sight trying to leave.

I am perplexed as well. In my understanding, the whole point of a Ponzi scheme is to get out of Dodge shortly before the whole thing topples and everybody knows. Then while everyone is sorting through the wreckage, you’re enjoying an umbrella drink on some tropical island. If he’s trying to protect people, then why did he involve them at all? Again, a Ponzi scheme inevitably collapses. That’s not a surprise; that’s how it works.

Maybe he thought he’d die first? I agree, it makes no sense.

Could be a couple of things. First, he’s too wealthy and high profile. Unless he wants to move to the Sudan, he probably can’t hide somewhere that Uncle Sugar can’t extradite him. I mean, if you embezzle $50M and run off, chances are the full weight of an 800 pound political gorilla isn’t going to come after you. Madoff would not fall into that category.

Second, he’s trying to stop everything with “I acted alone BS”

Third, he’s got some serious guilt complex and this is the way to atone for bilking people out of about $15b in principal.

I vote for the guilt complex. It is gradually coming clear that he started out legit and then lost money some year around 1990. Rather then fess up and lose his reputation for always making his 10% or whatever, he decided to cover it up. After that he–predictably–could not recover and things went from bad to worse till in the end it was all scam all the time.

I don’t think there is any doubt that he could have found some island somewhere (was in Antigua that some Texan more or less bought?) that would have welcomed him and a billion bucks. But he would have had to prepare his escape and this he apparently didn’t do.

I almost feel sorry for the guy; I don’t believe he started out bad, but gradually turned bad. Something like boiling a frog. Of course, I feel sorrier for the investors, but they were all too ready to believe the unbelievable. I guess religion gives you practice for that.

That seems to make sense, Hari. A criminal genius would have the escape plan in place either before beginning the scam or shortly thereafter. Could it be that Madoff never really believed that Ponzi schemes all end the same way?

Could he be very ill and assuming that he won’t live long in prison? From what I know of prison, very few people in Madoff’s position would choose it willingly- he must be guilty of some heinous shit we haven’t found out about yet…

I’ve been guessing along the lines of Hari Seldon. This just doesn’t seem like it was about money for Madoff. It has much more the smell of someone who couldn’t fathom that he had failed, and dug himself a huge hole, rather then admit it. Ego/reputation, not greed.

If that’s correct, I wonder if Madoff is actually a bit relieved that everything is finally out in the open.