How old machinery empowered Bernie Madoff

An aging but powerful IBM AS/400 computer know as "House 17" served as Bernie Madoff's printing press to create phony customer statements. Learn how Madoff fooled clients with the AS/400 and lulled them to sleep with impossibly high returns.
Written by John Dodge, Contributor

There are just as many theories about why Bernie Madoff stole billions in investor deposits as to how he got away with it for upward of three decades. One thing is for sure, smart and advanced technology were not part of the equation.


Quite the opposite. An old and completely-isolated IBM AS/400 midrange computer served as Bernie's printing press to crank out professional-looking brokerage statements, IRS 1099s and stock trade confirmations that offered no clue to clients that Madoff and associates were running off with their money.

My two-month investigation into Madoff's madness was published in this week's Securities Industry News. It's a riveting 3,000-word story that breaks new ground in this massively covered and ongoing saga.

The AS/400: Madoff's printing press

To examine Madoff's technology, I interviewed at length two ex-Bernard L. Madoff Investment Services IT employees and combed through countless legal documents to figure out how the AS/400 known as "House 17" was stoked with phony stock data to fool clients that their money was being legitimately invested. We now know those trades and purchases to the tune of just over $20 billion were never made.

Madoff simply took his clients' money and put it into a personal piggy bank.

Also, check out my sidebar on the burgeoning field of data forensics to expose digital corruption and resolve disputes. One unusual coincidence is the expert I spoke with has the same as me, John Dodge. I also spoke with several victims and highlighted one in another sidebar.

What are you theories on the hows and whys of Bernie Madoff?

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This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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