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'Ponzi' losses stun S. Fla. clients

An alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme run by long-trusted New York financier Bernard J. Madoff has sent shock waves among wealthy investors in South Florida.

Bernard Madoff, money manager and accused mastermind of a $50 billion investment fraud, walks towards his home along Lexington Avenue after appearing in court in New York, on Wednesday.

In the week since financier Bernard J. Madoff's stunning confession that his ultra-exclusive, $50 billion investment fund had been nothing more than a Ponzi scheme, the names and stories of South Florida investors have slowly leaked out.

Some lost a few hundred thousand dollars, others lost entire family fortunes worth millions.

There's Robert Jaffe, a dapper socialite who lived next door to Madoff's Palm Beach estate, and took a commission to recruit investors at the elite Palm Beach Country Club.

Since Madoff's arrest, Jaffe has resigned as chair of a multi-million dollar charitable foundation, hired a public relations firm to help fend off the press and canceled an upcoming party to celebrate his son's engagement.

Then there's Jerome Fisher, a Palm Beach Country Club member, and co-founder of the Nine West shoe chain. The Madoff meltdown is his second blow from a hedge fund in three years. Fisher was also a prominent investor in KL Financial, another Ponzi scheme that collapsed in 2005, wiping out $195 million.

An attorney for Fisher, Guy Giberson, said Fisher would not comment for this report.

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