Bernard Madoff and His Accomplices
Anatomy of a Con
by Lionel S. Lewis
March 2016, 397pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-4193-4
$64, £48, 56€, A87
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-4194-1
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

How did an ordinary man surrounded by ordinary people pull off an extraordinary white collar crime to the tune of nearly $20 billion?

This is the first detailed study of how Bernard L. Madoff and his accomplices perpetrated a Ponzi scheme of epic proportions—what has been referred to as the "con of the century."

In December 2008, Bernard L. Madoff was arrested for perpetrating a protracted Ponzi scheme of inconceivably huge proportions that defrauded clients of his securities company of nearly $20 billion—and was consequently sentenced to 150 years in jail. How did Madoff pull this off for years, even returning some or all of clients’ money when they asked, while in actuality was financing the lavish lifestyles of himself, his family, and his accomplices with the stolen funds? And why didn’t anyone in the highly regulated investment industry catch on sooner?

Bernard Madoff and His Accomplices: Anatomy of a Con examines Bernard L. Madoff’s unprecedented confidence game (con game), drawing back the curtain on what actually went on at his investment firm, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, and exposing the day-to-day activities of his accomplices that enabled the elaborate con to succeed for as long as it did. Through the examination of court testimony and other court documents, the mechanics of the con game become clear, elucidating how Madoff’s friends and employees hustled money from investors; the methods by which false records, monthly statements to investors, and other documents were manufactured and mass-produced; and how a multitude of felonies and the highest levels of fraud became everyday practices.


  • Presents the first study of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, the organization where the fraud began, was centered, and flourished by duping investors for at least a decade
  • Documents how investors who depend on and trust investment professionals can lose money, especially given that some investment companies do not always act in their clients' best interests and that Wall Street regulators are often ineffective
  • Takes readers backstage to see the intricate details of the "theatre production" of a con game—the playacting, performances, pretending, utilization of props, and false representations that are required to achieve a "standing ovation" (i.e., the total fleecing of the marks)
Lionel S. Lewis, MA, PhD, is professor emeritus and former chair of sociology at State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo. Previously, he also taught at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Nevada at Reno. In addition to writing 150 research papers, essays, and reviews, Lewis is the author of six previous books, including Con Game: Bernard Madoff and His Victims. He was admitted to Phi Beta Kappa and named a Woodrow Wilson Fellow at Washington University, where he majored in sociology; his graduate degrees from Cornell University and Yale University are also in sociology. Lewis was the recipient of a Social Sciences Research Council Faculty Grant and received a Myers Center Award for the Study of Human Rights in North America.


“How can a Wall Street investment firm get away with operating a Ponzi scheme for at least 20 years, and possibly as long as 40 years, without detection? Lionel S. Lewis’ book Bernard Madoff and His Accomplices provides insights about how the scheme operated, until its exposure in December 2008. Lewis allows the swindlers to speak in their own voices, relying on transcripts of their guilty pleas and 11,000 pages of testimony given under oath over the course of the 5 month trial of five confederates who pled not guilty. . . . How can this book be used in a classroom setting? Law students can read Bongiorno’s forty pages of testimony and devise questions that would get her to admit that she knowingly participated in fraudulent activities with her colleagues. Similarly, students can read DiPascali’s testimony, particularly how he creatively explained the legitimacy of BLMIS transactions, to develop questions that would generate a more truthful response. Another approach could be for students to develop client guidance for breaking employee silence that would result in prison terms for friendly co-workers. Lastly, students, as always, can debate whether the punishment fits the crime. . . . Lewis has provided an important service gathering these testimonies in one book. Now if only we could read transcripts of conversations between each of the fifteen guilty parties and their consciences.”—Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Books, October 3, 2016

"If you wish to know more than journalistic accounts about America’s most infamous con artist, read this book! You will learn the organizational context of a major con and how its perpetrators rarely operate alone. Lionel Lewis has produced his second well-written Madoff book—one that should be required reading for anyone who wishes to understand how white collar criminals are able to perpetrate their major frauds."—Simon I. Singer, Professor, Northeastern University
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