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Report: Yeshiva University Lost “Tens of Millions” In Madoff Scam

yu2.jpgAccording to the JTA, Yeshiva University has reportedly lost “tens of millions of dollars, if not more” in the recent $50 billion securities fraud of Bernard Madoff, sources close to the university said.

As YWN reported earlier, Madoff had served as treasurer of the YU Board of Trustees, and Chairman of its Sy Syms School of Business.

The YU official statement released, said it would not officially address the matter at this time.

The following is a list of investors tied to the firm that founder Bernard Madoff confessed to being a “one big lie,” costing clients $50 billion. (List compiled by Bloomberg News) [NOTE: This list is not final]

Access International, $1.4 billion
Banco Santander SA, 2.33 billion
Banque Benedict Hentsch, $48 million
Benbassat & Cie, $935 million
BNP Paribas, Up to 350
Bramdean Alternatives, 9.5 percent of assets
Boston philanthropist Carl Shapiro’s charitable foundation, $145 million
EIM Group, $230 million
Fairfield Greenwich Group, $7.5 billion
Fix Asset Management, $400 million
GMAC LLC Chairman Jacob Ezra Merkin’s Ascot Partners LLC, Most of its $1.8 billion of assets
Julian J. Levitt Foundation, $6 million
Kingate Management Ltd., $3.5 billion
Madoff Family Foundation $19 million
Maxam Capital Management LLC, $280 million
Mirabaud & Cie, A few million Swiss Francs
Neue Privat Bank, $5 Million
New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon’s Sterling Equities Inc, Undetermined
Notz, Stucki & Cie, Undetermined
Nomura Holdings Inc., Undetermined
Norman Braman Former owner of the Philadelphia Eagles Football Team, Undetermined
North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, $5 million
Pioneer Alternative Investments, Almost all of its $280 million of assets
Robert I. Lappin Charitable Foundation, $8 million
Reichmuth & Co.’s Reichmuth Matterhorn fund, $330 million
Societe Generale SA, $13.3 million
Tremont Capitalm Management, Undetermined
U.S. Senator Frank Charitable Foundation, Undetermined
Union Bancaire Privee, $850 million
Yeshiva University, Undetermined

34 Responses

  1. while i do agree with YWN’s decision to publish reports regarding this massive fraud, I am simply curious what standard YWN applies in deciding when to publish/not publish the names of yiddin who are involved in such crimes. for instance, not long ago, YWN ran a story regarding the Wextrust scheme, which, although on a smaller scale (“only” hundreds of millions), was certainly similar to this fiasco. In YWN’s report on Wextrust, the names of the yiddin involved were not mentioned anywhere in the report. I’m curious as to why this case seems to be different.

  2. #1 – what exactly is your issue here? Reporting the list of people who lost money or the story itself. YWN has an obligation to warn us if there is a person (even a Yid) who it is KNOWN to be hurting others (in this case financially). Knowing all of this info will hopefully help those who may still get hurt to protect themselves (If even still possible.)

    No harm done here as far as YWN.The harm done is by this person who lost all this money that was not his.

  3. this is a horrible story. much anti-semitism could result from this story. the epitome of centrist judiism is as stake. how could the treasure of yu be such a scoundrel. the head of sy syms schoolof business!unbelievable!how long is this going on. ten years ; twenty; forty years. why did it take so long to find out.
    i guess with all the financial busts going on there weren’t to many people to ponzi on.
    do you realize the magnitude,fifty billion dollars ; enough money to support all yeashivas in the world for the next 100 years without schnoring. unbelievable!.

  4. #2 – i agree wholeheartedly with you. i also think that YWN has a tremendous ‘achrayus’ to report news which will help yiddin protect themselves, even R”L from other yiddin (as in this case).
    as i explained, i am simply curious as to the standards that YWN applies when decided which names the do or do not publicize in such cases. i referenced a similar recent story where YWN clearly made a point of NOT mentioning the names of the yiddin involved.
    additionally, many of us are aware of other incidents and crimes perpetrated by “erliche” yiddin which R”L affect the safety of other yiddin, which YWN has chosen not to report. i only mention this in order to better understand which stories YWN chooses to publish and which it chooses not to.

  5. Although I don’t think YWN has done anything wrong in reporting this article, saying this falls under the heter of protecting people is simply ridiculous. 1) This investment firm was invitation only. Very few people posting here could have invested in this firm even if they’d wanted to. 2) This guy will be going to prison for a while, and has about a 0% chance of ever being seen in the financial world again.

  6. Listen people, I am not sure what the problem here really is. Very few people actually know the actual laws of Lashon Harah. Of the few that know the real halachos, even fewer actually keep their mouths shut and KEEP the halachos. There is no question that lots of lashon harah goes back and forth on these sites. So, this site has a bit less than the others? Big deal. When you go on the internet, you know what you are getting unfortunately. So #3, you want to know what the Chafetz Chaim would say about this? Open the sefer Chafetz Chaim & Shmiras Halashon and it will scare you out of your wits! There are SO many conditions that have to be met to EVER say anything about anyone. Give credit to yeshivaworld for trying, but it’s alot more juicy unfortunately when you let some lashon harah through. I do come to this site and beshita I will NEVER read the other similiar sites. Here, sometimes you have to squirm, on the other blogs you are holding the one way ticket to Gehinnom. It’s a tough tightrope for the editors to walk. And yes, we’d be alot better off WITHOUT any comments! (Yes, including my own!…)

  7. nothing in the article will”protect Yiddin”- there is absolutely no point in publishing the names except spreading loshon hora- it does not matter that it is public knowledge and in newspapers- it is still loshon hora. YWN has it’s own set of rules for what they choose to post and not to post- total hypocrisy.

  8. at least no yeshiva or kollel had money with him and besides YU no, frum organizations lost anything directly. I wonder how many supporters of frum Torah institutions were involved. If they weren’t,they at least did not lose.

  9. KAJ
    I usualy agree with most of what you write, and have much respect for you. But this is just a preliminary list, there is lots more to come. Many frum people invested with this thief, and lost their life savings. There are many mutual funds that lost billions that certainly have Frum money, and frum organization money. If it is correct that Ezra merkin lost 1.8 billion you can be sure, lots of frum people and mosdos are included.
    But all of you writers do not understand the real lesson.
    WE ARE OBLIGATED TO MAKE SURE OUR MOSDOS AND TZEDOKAH ORGANIZATIONS INVEST OUR MONEY WISELY We all have to take the board of our mosdos and tzedokah’s to task and make sure this does not happen with tzedokah money. I have seen it happen way too often that tzedokahs lose their savings due to inept management, and greed.

  10. If he admitted (as it says in the story above) that the fund was a “lie”, then I don’t see any issur here. He’s modeh that he is a world champion crook, perhaps the biggest in history (who didn’t run a country), thus aino oseh ma’ase amchah.

    Aside from that, even without mentioning names it is always a mitzvah to remind people about Ponzi schemes, because as long as there are yidden with a few dollars there will be yiddish crooks trying to separate them from their money with claims of “amazing returns on your investment”. I’m old enough to have heard about too many, and been fleeced myself from one “mortgage broker” from Boro Park.

    The rule of thumb my friends should always be, “if it’s sounds too good to be true, it isn’t true”.

  11. Let’s Keep the Sacred Chofetz Chaim out of this STOLEN Cholunet PLEASE have a shkitle anava. Now plain and simple this is a no brainer a Ganef is a Ganef is a Ganef. Spread the words to protect our fellow Yid in need.

  12. Of course yiden lost money here. There are many fund of funds, pension plans, charities who invested with them. There were many different ways directly or indirectly to get invested with this man. Believe me many frum yiden lost big here.This was the “safest” place to invest. The returns weren’t big enough for people looking to make a quick buck. They were for wealthy people looking for a safe steady return on their money. And this was not Wextrust. This was a lot scarier and bigger. Many major banks in the world were fooled by this. Believe they check before they invest. They did their due dilligence but were still fooled. This story took a lot of peoples help to pull off. Right now we don’t know how many different people and firms helped this man pull of this scheme. I’m just scared that there shouldn’t be more yiden involved in the scandal as the facts come to light how he pulled this off. We have to daven for those trying to recover their money and also that no further chillul hashem comes out of this. What a shande that the biggest scam in history was pulled off by a Yid who identified himself with Jewish schools and institutions. We need rachmei shamayim.

  13. #8, If you really read Chofetz Chaim you know he would have no problem with this article. For many reasons.
    [And yes, “Unzer” is “Oiseh maasey Amcho” and should be treated differently…]

  14. to # 11–

    RENCO seems to have lost a bundle. That could directly affect a lot of mosdos HaTorah!
    # 11, WHO is renco? It’s not on the list

  15. Ponzi Scheme –
    Monday, December 15, 2008 1:07 AM
    This sender is DomainKeys verified

    —–Inline Attachment Follows—–

    Ponzi Scheme

    What does it Mean? A fraudulent investing scam that promises high rates of return at little risk to investors. The scheme generates returns for older investors by acquiring new investors. This scam actually yields the promised returns to earlier investors, as long as there are more new investors.
    Investopedia Says… The Ponzi scam is named after Charles Ponzi, a clerk in Boston who first orchestrated such a scheme in 1919.

    A Ponzi scheme is similar to a pyramid scheme in that both are based on using new investors’ funds to pay the earlier backers. One difference between the two schemes is that the Ponzi mastermind gathers all relevant funds from new investors and then distributes them. Pyramid schemes, on the other hand, allow each investor to directly benefit depending on how many new investors are recruited. In this case, the person on the top of the pyramid does not at any point have access to all the money in the system.

    For both schemes, however, eventually there isn’t enough money to go around and the schemes unravel.

    Terms Related Links
    The Biggest Stock Scams Of All Time – Where there is money, there are swindlers. Protect yourself by learning how investors have been betrayed in the past.

    What Is A Pyramid Scheme? – Considering joining an “investment club” that promises phenomenal returns on your sign-up fee? Read this article and think again!

    The Ghouls And Monsters On Wall Street – Learn about some of the creepiest cases of fraud and the characters behind them.

    Investment Scams: Different Types Of Scams – The Ponzi scheme isn”t as cool as Fonzie, learn the difference.

    Common Concerns For Retirees – Find out how to take action against some of the biggest financial post-work worries.

  16. KA TIDE guy
    Since we live in the same neighborhood, I assume you are aware that YU has several Kollelim, including the highly regarded Kollel Elyon. The five Roshei Kollel are Moreinu R Schechter, R Willig, R JD Bleich, R Rosenzweig and R Aharon Lichtenstein. Your cynicism towards these Kollelim is really unbelievable. Additionally, you know that YU stands for Yeshiva University, that it is a Yeshiva with a Beis Medrosh which is full into the latest hours of the night. This Yeshiva includes 21 maggedei shiur many of whom are highly regarded Rabbis in their own right, some in Agudath Israel congregations. Again I am flabbergasted by the level of cynicism here. How did “no yeshiva or kollel” suffer from this if one of the largest yeshivoth and kollelim is reeling? I do not understand how petty politics gets in the way of feeling some of the pain of people who are not just “frum” which you grant them, but also filling the Beis Medrosh, listening to extra nighttime shiurim, giving chaburos and now finishing all of Shas in undergrad.

  17. the difference between this and wextrust is that the judge in wextrust would not allow a list of investors whereas here the names are splattered all over the world
    can someone explain th edifference between investing in maddoff and losing everything or bill miller and losing 75% or like me buying rock solid merril lynch at 75 and seeing it down to 10?or bear stearns,lehman,or gm following kerkonian’s cottails etc.afte revery ponzi scheme all arise to say if its to good to be true it cant be true,well most of the big time wealth in the world was from investing,warren buffet etc.with real estate a very very distant second,now they both butst so what do you want people to do?i suggest giving more to tzeddakah,like the few unzer gvirim that were giving 80-90%

  18. as far as the yeshiva in the university,i heard from rav gifter ztl that he was very aware of the university,he neve rsaw the yeshiva.
    while noone can argue about the great talmmeidey chachamim that are at yu,the fact is it is a university ,not a yeshiva.they dont need my advice,but if they want to be recognized as a yeshiva maybe it stime to do a spin-off?yeshiva is something that we generally credit reb chaim volozhiner with in modern times,and thayt is the terminology that honest people should be using.for that reason maran harav shach ztl was against maarava ,not as an institution,but for calling itself a yeshiva.torah im derech eretz,right or wrong,is not a yeshiva just like a lawyer who learns 8 hours a day,alot more than many kollel yungerliett,isnt a yungerman,he may be a gadol b’torah and may be very respected but when talking semantics,he isnt a yungerman,a real ben torah?absolutely,more of a ben torah than a yungerman who doesnt utilize his time,but let us not rewrite the dictionary
    and yes i have freinds whos egadluth b’torah is amazing and thay learnt at the yu kollel,afte rbeing in lakewood
    i hope i have articulated what i think is in the heart of most bnei torah,and that is what reb aharon kotle rztl strived for.we call it torah l’shma

  19. why i sthis guy out on bail?and why pray tell does he still have his huge apartment in manhattan,shouldnt they be freezing at least the obvious?

  20. There is a very big difference between this and wextrust. Wextrust was not a ponzi scheme as it did not use new money to pay returns. The allegation in the Wextrust case is that he allegedly did not make the investments he promised and that he used some money to fund a lavish lifestyle. Wextrust has pleaded not guilty, and claims his investments were bad. There were significant investments made, as is evident by the number of investments and assetts placed into the trustees care. The trustee himself said that most of the investments could be saved. In the Wextrust case there is reason to believe the gov’t pulled the trigger a bit quickly.
    In this case however, he has clearly admitted – at least according to the FBI, that its nothing but a ponzi scheme. The FBI actually had no evidence other than a comment he made to an employee.
    Mind you, this was not a boiler room operation we are referring to. There was a large corp staff of close to 500 people. Its hard to believe that it is all true.
    Also, in this case he was released on 10 million bond, but in the Wextrust case they insisted on 25 million cash and he must wear a monitoring bracelet.
    Even the goyim understand that a yid is better, yet we have yidden who’s philosophy is to live like a goy. When are we going to realize that that Mehalech Hachayim does not accomplish what its supposed to. Torah-Im Derech Eretz was supposed to be the solution for Anti-Semitism. It obviously isn’t.

  21. To #18-
    RENCO is a company run by Ira Rennert. Judging by the times I’ve seen his name in the Jewish papers (ads for dinners…) mosdos are going to take a hit on this one.

  22. To #23. R. Chaim Volozhiner did not allow talmidim to attend college while in Yeshiva (or even after for that matter). Are you proposing that Torah Vodaath, Chaim Berlin, Torah Temima and etc. not be called Yeshivos?



  24. Why is this an opportunity to bash YU? You folks did not use Mumbai as a chance to bash Habad? So why is YU suddenly not a yeshiva on the day they lose lots of money?
    I can guarantee that if there were such problems in Lakewood, you would not find people in our Beth Medrosh criticizing or insulting them.

  25. CLARIFICATION-i was not bashing YU,i was engaging in internet chat philisophical long as we can agree to disagree we wont have sinath think that kollel is a waste of time and i think torah the mor ethe better with a life of pashtus is the way
    one of the after shocks of madoff is that many high wheelers will hav eto adjust their lifestyles.maybe in galus we should be living a little this applies to lakewood,chaim berlin,yu-ther is no excus efor extravagance.i refer all to the mesalath yesharim to define our purpose in this world.hint,hint,it isnt for country club living
    as far as torah vadaath,chaim berlin .ner yisroel etc that have college,i believe ,and correct me if i am wrong,but they dont intergrate it or publicize themselves as universities,they tolerate their bochurim going to college,sounds like a big difference

  26. To Misterzee:

    You have defined what qualifies as a Yeshiva by strict adgerence to the Volozhin model. Well, the mainstream Yeshivos today, many of which allow and, more often than not honor, those that attend college, do not comport to Volozhin. So, according to you they are not Yeshivos.

    By the way, I learned for a number of years in YU and mainstream Yeshivos, and, I can assure you that it is at least the the equal of any Yeshiva. Also, for your information, the Semicha program in YU better than anywhere else.

  27. If you really think about it,all banks are ponzi schemes.they lend out the depositers’ money to borrowers who pay interest. If everyone who put money in the bank would withdraw their deposits, the bank would not have the money to give the depositors.

  28. #23
    I don’t believe your story about Rabbi gifter.
    I hope you are sitting when you read this.
    Are you sitting?
    My father had Rabbi Gifter as a rebbe many many years ago in Yiyzchok Elchanan aka YU.

  29. I agree with Misterzee that all yeshivas come from Volozhin. This is why the Hatam Sofer had a Yeshiva in Pressburg and why there were thirty eight yeshivas in the prewar Slovakian lands based on the model of Pressburg. There were also Yeshivas in Germany, and throughout Europe which antedated Volozhin or had nothing to do with it. Obviously there were also Yeshivas among Middle Eastern Jews and also there were Yeshivas in the first Yishuv.

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