Is Peter Madoff the worst compliance officer ever?
Peter Madoff, the younger brother of criminal mastermind Bernard Madoff, served as the compliance officer Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, where the massive Ponzi scheme took place over decades.
Had Peter done his brothers' job, prosecutors say the scheme would have been cracked much earlier. To this day, and the amusement of skeptics, Peter maintains he did not know about the scheme. And in fact, prosecutors never charged him with being a knowing accomplice. But they got him on a lot of other stuff.
He admitted in June to a range of crimes, including falsifying documents, lying to securities regulators and filing sham tax returns. He was recently sentenced to 10 years in jail, which compares with 150 years that his brother is no serving. Peter was also hit with a forfeiture request to the tune of $143 billion, which he'll never pay off.
In a bid for lenient treatment, Peter's lawyers argued that he was in awe of his older brother, who treated him brusquely for years. Bernard was the "prince" of the family, while Peter was the mere pauper.
In the end, can you imagine a worse choice for compliance officer? Then again, this is exactly what a criminal wants, a lapdog. Bernard didn't even allow Peter access to the mysterious offices of the money management unit two floors beneath the Peter's offices and the trading unit. It's hard to believe that he didn't at least have an inkling that something was amiss. Despite his obvious shortcomings, Peter was able to muster 63 character references for the sentencing hearing, compared with zero for his older brother.