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Harry Markopolos          

The Bernie Madoff Whistleblower

It took five minutes for Harry Markopolos to figure out that Bernard Madoff was a fraud. But it took him nearly ten years to get the SEC – and the world – to accept the difficult truth...that the man regarded as the foremost investor of our time was actually behind the largest case of investor fraud in history. Thanks to Harry’s persistent flag waving and years of covert communications with the SEC, the veil covering Madoff’s “financial magic” was eventually lifted, revealing an intricate $65 Billion Ponzi scheme built on equal parts deception and SEC ineptitude, and making Harry Markopolos a true hero for the ages. A story you must hear to believe, Harry and his amazing journey have been featured on 60 Minutes, in The Wall Street Journal and in the documentary Chasing Madoff.

Markopolos candidly explains his long fight to “gift wrap and deliver to the SEC the biggest Ponzi scheme in history” and reveals a captivating cloak-and-dagger story of one man and his tightly knit, highly-trained team of trusted allies that never gave up. By relying on his unique combination of skills as a 22-year veteran of the finance industry, he pieced together the facts and numbers and blew the whistle on Madoff.

With modesty, steely integrity and self-deprecating humor, Markopolos offers not only an insider account of his actions, but a vivid examination of our financial system. He articulates what mistakes and holes in our system lead to Madoff’s “success” and how we can prevent similar crimes in the future. It was a broken system that allowed Madoff to slip through unnoticed, and Markopolos is using his voice to help protect the public from financial predators. One man making a big difference, Markopolos continues to fight the good fight against the many forces that have ripped apart our nation’s financial practices and compromised the U.S. economy. A crusader for the truth and justice, he forges ahead, working to ensure that a crime of this magnitude never happens again

Speech Topics

You Think Financial Fraud Is Bad? Taking a Hard Look at the $500 Billion Medicare Program

Chasing Bernie Madoff: Gift Wrapping & Delivering the Truth about the Largest Ponzi Scheme Ever

Developing and Acting Upon Healthy Professional Skepticism

How did the entire system of checks and balances fail for that many decades in the $65 billion Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme? Banks, investment banks, hedge funds, pension funds, endowments, and regulators of all stripes failed to exhibit even a modicum of professional skepticism. Big 4, regional, and local accounting firms also failed to exhibit professional skepticism despite numerous red flags and unintelligible account statements. The multi-billion dollar Madoff firm’s auditor was a one-man accounting firm yet raised no suspicions. How did Madoff game the SEC exam and enforcement teams? How did the complicit feeder funds game their own audits? Where were the accountants at the so-called independent third party administrators? How does an audit team know it's being played? How can auditors recognize they're being manipulated and challenge their audit clients in order to protect themselves and stakeholders from blown audits and the resulting lawsuits?

Obviously the accounting firms that did Madoff-related audits can't talk because they're enmeshed in pre-trial litigation, so hear from Harry Markopolos, the Madoff whistleblower, for his observations on how Madoff got away with his fraud scheme and fooled so many for so long. What he has to say will have you either crying or laughing or maybe even both at the same time.

How Did One Man Lose $50 Billion? The Signs, The Red Flags & How to Make Sure It Never Happens Again

Markopolos will provide a riveting, behind the scenes presentation on how his four-person investigative team tracked Madoff and the Madoff Feeder Funds throughout Europe and North America over an eight and a half year timeframe – while repeatedly submitting detailed reports to the US SEC, which refused to listen. He will explain the red flags, warning signs, and the audit steps you need to know so this doesn't happen to your organization.

Your Industry & Fraud: What to Look For & How to Prevent It

Markopolos will impart lessons that had to be relearned by capital markets due-diligence professionals, accountants, and regulators who forgot them all during the boom years that left them unprepared for the Mortgage Backed Securities fiasco and Bernie Madoff. Every sector of the financial services industry failed during both scandals and, unbelievably, it turned out no one was doing the job they said they were doing.

Most due diligence is a set of check-the-box questions that fraudsters know how to respond to. If that weren't bad enough, control systems are static while fraudsters are constantly improving and thinking of ways to circumvent whatever safeguards you were smart enough to implement in the past. Tragically, the financial services industry is its own worst enemy, driven by foolish fads destined to end in disaster as bad money and loosening credit standards drive out good money and sound lending standards. Large financial institutions are not much different than lemmings in search of the next cliff to jump off of. Big frauds are glaringly easy to spot if you simply ask "does this make any sense?"

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