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Madoff Securities Swindle Leaves Clients Ashamed and Penniless

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Garden City, NJ"What's remarkable about this," says New Jersey attorney Jerome Reisman, "is that each of these people considered Bernie Madoff to be their friend." Some friend! Even for a seasoned bankruptcy, creditor's rights and litigation lawyer like Reisman, the magnitude and gall of the Madoff securities swindle is astounding.

Although he and other lawyers are working as hard as they can to track down the $65 billion Madoff siphoned off innocent investors, Reisman admits restoring his clients to their previous state of wealth will be near impossible.

Bernie Madoff established the Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities firm in 1960 and served for a time as the head of the Nasdaq Exchange. Madoff was arrested in December of 2008 and is accused of wire fraud, securities fraud, mail fraud and money laundering. His 'ponzi scheme' may prove to be the biggest scam ever perpetrated by a single individual.

Millionaires Now Penniless
"My clients are all victims. Most have lost have lost all their assets, many are now penniless and destitute, some have had to turn to menial jobs after being known as millionaires," says Reisman, a senior attorney with Reisman, Pierez & Reisman in Garden City, NJ who has made many media appearances particularly over the last few months talking about the Madoff investment securities case.

Reisman's clients are from all over the world. "We have victims in Israel, we have victims in France; I have spoken with people from Mexico and Brazil, but the dominant number of victims is in New York and the southeast area of Florida," he says. The firm now represents about 20 of the estimated 4000 people involved in the Madoff scandal.

Different Types of Actions
There are so many Madoff victims out there that some 45 different lawyers and firms are now involved in representing the victims. "Some people will join class action suits, some people who don't want to be tangled up in class actions will pursue individual actions," says Reisman. "There are different types of actions that will be brought depending on the needs of certain individuals."

None of them wishes to have their identities known. "They have suffered a terrible plight and lost their entire life savings," Reisman says. "My clients are quite frankly embarrassed and ashamed. Some of them are in business and don't want their competitors to know their current financial plight because it can create a disadvantage for them."

It is worth mentioning too, that not all of the people Madoff cheated were extremely wealthy. Many could not be classed as multi-millionaires.

Other Defendants
Lawyers are looking for deep pockets in this case. They are looking for other individuals or firms that may have participated in the Madoff schemes --- knew or should have known what was occurring at the time. "The trustee has at the moment recovered about $1 billion, which really amounts to pennies on the dollar for victims," says Reisman. "I think the odds of recovering much more are remote."

Jerome Reisman graduated from Queens College and Syracuse University. He specializes in Bankruptcy Law, Creditor's Rights, Commercial Litigation, Real Estate, Bank Documentation, Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts.



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