With the $500,000 Bernard Madoff auction still fresh in the minds of South Floridians, PBS' Frontline is rebroadcasting its expose of how the Ponzi schemer made off with $65 billion.
The hour-long show will air 9 p.m. Tuesday, focusing on Madoff's early days. He is now serving 150 years in federal prison after he persuaded thousands to plunk down cash for nonexistent investments. The scheme went on for decades.
Madoff, who grew up in New York, eventually bought a Palm Beach mansion. He socialized at the Palm Beach Country Club where he met several of his defrauded investors. His Palm Beach things were recently auctioned at the Miami Beach Convention Center to raise money for his victims.
One of Madoff's large South Florida investors had known him for decades: Fort Lauderdale millionaire philanthropist Michael Bienes.
Bienes describes to Frontline how he became associated with Madoff as a young accountant. He was impressed with Madoff's touch.
It was "easy, easy-peasy, like a money machine," When asked if he had ever questioned Madoff about his approach, Bienes says: "Never. Why would I ask him? I wouldn't understand it if he explained it.''
Now Bienes is out millions of dollars. So are the friends and acquaintances he steered toward Madoff.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun