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Madoff’s “North Pole”

An amended complaint filed by Burlingame-based law firm Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy against Bernie Madoff and his alleged co-conspirators in a massive Ponzi scheme contains some salacious new details about the professional atmosphere Madoff cultivated in the early years of BMIS, including allegations of drug use and prostitution:

Behind the Facade, Madoff and BMIS Had A Dark Side

83. Behind this facade was a different side of Madoff and BMIS. Starting in 1975, Madoff began sending a long-time employee and office messenger to obtain drugs for himself and the company who worked with another individual who became a supplier to BMIS. These two men were described as
street tough men from Harlem “who were not to be messed with.” Their job was to get drugs and bring them to the office for use at BMIS. The employees in the office were well known and everyone knew, including some special investors. Drug use in the office was described as rampant and likened the office to the “North Pole” in reference to the cocaine use. Eventually the main employee supplier was fired for his drug abuse when cocaine and other undisclosed drugs were found in his desk in 2003. Madoff worried that it might bring in drug prosecutors who might uncover the big scam.

84. In regards to the diversion-filled office environment, employees described the wild office parties sans spouses. There were topless entertainers wearing only “G-string” underwear serving as waitresses, and a culture of sexual deviance existed in the office. The employees had late night affairs in exciting places – such as their boss’ sofa “with whomever they could find.” Employees described it as a wild, fast-talking, drug-using office culture.

85. Madoff also maintained a list of his favorite attractive female masseuses in his personal telephone book. Madoff’s affinity for escorts, masseuses, and attractive female employees was well known in the office culture, and certain feeders were allowed to participate in the conduct. A significant amount of the money stolen from investors went towards these lavish indulgences as well as other expenses for his employees, family and favorite feeders.

Among the other potential revelations in the complaint, which runs to nearly 300 pages, is that Madoff may have begun his Ponzi scheme as early as the the 1960s, not the 1990s, as he has claimed.

One of the victims of Madoff’s scheme who is being represented by Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy is a retired Foster City teacher.

Posted on Tuesday, October 20th, 2009
Under: Burlingame, Crime, Foster City, Joe Cotchett | No Comments »

Mark Church makes appearance on “Lou Dobbs Tonight”

In case you missed it, county Supervisor Mark Church was on “Lou Dobbs Tonight” last week, trying to protect his eyes from the glare of the CNN host’s blindingly white teeth.

Dobbs featured a segment Dec. 1 with both Church and lawyer Joe Cotchett, whose firm is handling the county’s lawsuit against Lehman Brothers, the collapse of which deprived the county of about $150 million in investments.

The suit asserts that the company fraudulently misled investors into thinking their money was safe, even as the investment firm slid closer to the abyss.

“What makes this case so outrageous is that all the while upper management was siphoning off millions of dollars for their own personal benefit, leaving investors holding the bag,” said Church, according to a CNN transcript.

Cotchett referred to Lehman Brothers’ executives as “modern-day robber barons.”

“One thing is for sure,” Cotchett said of the company’s leaders. “They shouldn’t have a $21 million condo on Park Avenue to return home to every night.”

Posted on Wednesday, December 10th, 2008
Under: Aaron Kinney, Board of Supervisors, Joe Cotchett, Mark Church, San Mateo County | 1 Comment »