In 2008, aside from the historic election of Barack Obama as the nation’s first black president, there was another historic event which shook up the entire world – the economy crash. It affected the lives of almost every person on the planet, and as information began flooding news channels and programs as it unfolded, ordinary people were bombarded with information, numbers, doomsday prophecies, and names like Lehman Brothers, Fannie May, Freddie Mac, Wall Street, and so on.
But there was one name in particular that became a pivotal story throughout the unfolding mess – Bernie Madoff, the former investment banker and financier who ran a Ponzi scheme which conned his investors out of $65 million over decades. He is not the first fraudster to cheat people out of money, but his case is one of those which will be studied by economists, Wall Street, and academics teaching the up-and-coming generation about finance for years to come.
The Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme is the biggest fraudulent scheme in U.S. history, and he was eventually sentenced to 150 years in prison for it. How did his scheme go undetected for so long? And why did a successful investment banker like him go rogue in the first place to rip people off? There are many who would jump at the chance to ask these questions and hear them from the man himself.
While almost a decade has passed, and the economy has mostly recovered thanks to the policies enacted during the Obama administration, there are important lessons to learn from this infamous Ponzi scheme. And now a new audio series is giving listeners a first-hand glimpse into how this scheme unfolded, Bernie’s thought-process throughout it all, and how victims were affected.
From Audible Channels’ new originals series comes ‘Ponzi Supernova’, hosted by journalist Steve Fishman. If you were entranced by the journalistic and storytelling styles of Netflix’s ‘Making A Murderer’, and This American Life’s ‘Serial’ podcast series, you will want to download ‘Ponzi Supernova’ immediately.
The popularity and draw of the aforementioned cult hits is that it gives ordinary people an inside view of the types of industries and events that we aren’t normally privy too. Where ‘Serial’ left many wondering whether Adnan Syed from Season 1 was guilty or not (his case is still ongoing and he has recently been granted a new trial date thanks to the series being able to expose details not disclosed in previous trials), and ‘Making a Murderer’ had viewers battling with whether to believe Steven Avery was capable of such a gruesome murder as he awaits his fate, ‘Ponzi Supernova’ puts the focus on story and analysis, rather than any forthcoming outcome.
We already know what happened to Bernie Madoff, but now we get to hear a mostly no-holds-barred narrative that major news media outlets could only have dreamed about reporting 9 years ago. Aside from his candid confessions, the series also features interview with victims of the scheme, FBI agents, attorneys, traders, and financial investors. It is the kind of deep dive into such a complex and aggressive financial system that can not only enlighten listeners, but educate any ordinary person on how such egregious crimes happen.
Where the Academy Award-winning film ‘The Big Short’ took audiences into the overall structure of how the entire financial system collapsed, thanks to epic performances by Christian Bale and Steve Carrell, ‘Ponzi Supernova’ is an eerily subdued type of punch in the gut with the voice of Bernie Madoff himself, seemingly so casually explaining his process of defrauding so many people over so many years.
Hearing the interviews leaves you feeling vulnerable, angry, yet strangely empowered knowing such detailed information about this catastrophic event. The series satiates the ever-growing fascination we as a society have with true crime stories, as the success of shows such as FX’s ‘The People v O.J. Simpson’ and CBS’ ‘The Case of JonBenet Ramsey’ have indicated.
Bernie Madoff’s white collar crime story is being taken out of the elite Wall St. and Washington D.C settings and being handed to ordinary Americans who seek to understand how such a scheme could happen, get inside the mind of a financial criminal, and potentially learn how they can avoid ever becoming a victim of someone like him in the future.
At the intersection of newsmedia, journalism and entertainment, ‘Ponzi Supernova’ is an essential for your Audible playlist, which you can download here.
This is a sponsored conversation written by us on behalf of Audible. The opinions and text are all ours.