But the specifics of Madoff’s fraud highlight how the portrayal of a coldly conducted business crime on television or film can result in a narrative that obscures, in Madoff’s case, what allowed his misdeeds to go undetected for so long. What the HBO film and ABC TV show fail to fully capture is Madoff’s painstakingly acquired reputation, his studied use of secrecy and, above all, his ability to lie persuasively. We speak from experience, as lawyers who represented two of Madoff’s former employees in an almost six-month-long federal district-court trial that generated nearly 12,000 pages of transcripts, and met with Madoff in prison as part of our preparation for it. That the Madoff employees convicted after trial ultimately received sentences far shorter than the government was seeking stemmed in no small part from just how capable Madoff was at concealing his fraud, as the judge pointed out during sentencing.
‘Enforcement 40’ for 2020
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