Madoff probe targets wealthy clients

Reports say investigators into Bernard Madoff’s alleged “Ponzi scheme” are looking at some of his wealthy clients who may have known that the returns on their investments were unrealistically high.  School of Law Professor Tamar Frankel, a securities law expert and Israeli native, says this would violate both securities law and Jewish law.

“Jewish law forbids any person from harming another, directly or indirectly. In addition, a person must take steps to make sure that no injury is caused by himself or others. A person may not aid others or allow others to violate Jewish law (which includes a prohibition on stealing). A person must take affirmative actions to prevent others from violating the law. Civil and criminal law may not be as strict, but its spirit is the same.

“The scary part in the developments in Madoff’s saga is the possibility that a large group of those who accepted his largess suspected the truth. And, rather than escape, they continued to enjoy the ‘profits’ he paid. The saddest part is that Madoff’s investors may represent today’s culture in the financial system where the wealthy set the tone and show the way to those who seek wealth.”

Contact Tamar Frankel, 617-353-3773, tfrankel@bu.edu

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