Monday, November 2, 2009

Madoff: It would have been easy for them to see

(Wise readers might want to keep in mind Malcolm Gladwell's article Connecting the Dots, which details some of the problems with signal and noise -- even with warnings, what is clear in hindsight is rarely clear in foresight.)

Nobody was more surprised that the Securities and Exchange Commission did not discover Bernard L. Madoff's enormous Ponzi scheme years ago than Mr. Madoff himself.

After all, it would have been pretty simple, he said in a transcript of a jailhouse interview that is part of a trove of official exhibits released on Friday by the S.E.C.'s inspector general, H. David Kotz. Among the documents released is an interview with Madoff himself.

The new exhibits consist of 6,157 pages of interviews, letters, e-mail messages, telephone records and other background material gathered during Mr. Kotz's 10-month investigation of how the commission handled, and mishandled, numerous tips and warnings it received about Mr. Madoff over the years.