By now, just about everyone with a coherent mind knows at least the gist of the Bernie Madoff Pnozi scheme that reaped over 50 billion dollars from thousands - maybe millions - of unsuspecting investors for the benefit of a few.


It went on for years with new investors money being used to pay off the early investors with no hope of ever paying back the newest investors. Individuals lost their entire life savings, charities lost entire endowments and at least a few banks went belly up. Moreover, it wasn't limited to the United States, it effected other countries... other governments... and [it is rumored] many members of organized crime.


His downfall was attributed to a small group of private citizens who realized early on that Madoff's scheme was not legit. This team was headed by Harry Markopolos, a hedge fund analyst with Rampart Investment Management. After learning that one of Rampart's business partners - Access - was suing a private money manager to earn top dollars, Markopolos was asked by his boss to design a similar package to offer potential clients.

He could not.


he could not because in the real world it would be impossible to consistently earn the returns that Madoff's company guaranteed. Even in the best scenario, ie the perfect financial environment, it was impossible to produce the returns Madoff said he produced. That is when Markopolos realized it was a fraud; in 1999.


He enlisted the help of Neil Chelo, a mathematician to cross-check his work and was assured it was correct. Markopolos took the results back to his boss Frank Casey who then passed the word on. They were ignored.


Markopolos then to the results to the Security and Exchange Commission for them to investigate and was again ignored. This went on for nine years until finally someone listened and Madoff was arrested.

Yada, yada, yada! And the beat goes on. We all know that.


But what the film goes into is how Markopolos, convinced himself that if Madoff found out he had blown the whistle on the scam, Madoff would have Markopolos rubbed out. There was too much money involved and too many bad guys involved. Surely the would come get him and silence the critic.


He was concerned with "dying of lead poisoning due to multiple puncture wounds" by bullets, Markopolos quips.


He arms himself, takes several steps to safeguard his family even to the point of family drills on what to do during a home invasion when the bad guys storm his house to kill him. This guy clearly had seen "Scarface" too many times. It would have been nice to learn something more about the Ponzi scheme that perhaps we didn't know. In those

terms, the film tells us little more than what Wikipedia tells us. Its focus is more on Markopolos and his overactive imagination. The film even goes so far as to dramatize his anxiety - an anxiety not shared by Casey and Chelo.


"Chasing Madoff" comes off more like a chronicle about the whistleblowers acutre paranoia and overactive imagination rather than a documentary that sheds new light on the biggest money scam in history. End the end, Madoff goes to jail.   -- GEOFF BURTON