Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Bernie Madoff's Programmers Arrested

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the what-corporate-veil dept.

The Courts 280

ZipK writes "With their former boss cooling his heels on a 150-year sentence, programmers Jerome O'Hara and George Perez are now in the US Attorney's crosshairs. They've been arrested and charged with criminal conspiracy, and 'accused of producing false documents and trading records at Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC in New York.' Apparently Madoff's fraud was too large and too complex to be foisted entirely by hand."

cancel ×

280 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Moral of the story: (4, Insightful)

alecto (42429) | more than 4 years ago | (#30091684)

If you destroy evidence, make sure you destroy the backups, too.

Re:Moral of the story: (5, Funny)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#30091746)

... and when your boss gets 150 years, get your ass to a country without an extradition treaty with the US.

Re:Moral of the story: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30092140)

... and when your boss gets 150 years, get your ass to a country without an extradition treaty with the US.

Don't feel too sorry for Bernie, with good behavior he'll be out in 100 !

Re:Moral of the story: (5, Funny)

Wuhao (471511) | more than 4 years ago | (#30092158)

... and when your boss gets 150 years, get your ass to a country without an extradition treaty with the US.

Polanski's corollary: Stay there.

Alan Johnson is a twat (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#30092174)

... and when your boss gets 150 years, get your ass to a country without an extradition treaty with the US.

Northern Cyprus or Somalia. Marvelous. Every other country just goes "You think he might have been naughty? Well here he is - any particular kind of metal you'd like the chains made from?"

Re:Alan Johnson is a twat (5, Funny)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#30092198)

any particular kind of metal you'd like the chains made from

Mercury.

Re:Alan Johnson is a twat (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30092296)

Somalia

I hear there are a lot of copyright infringers there!

Re:Alan Johnson is a twat (4, Informative)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 4 years ago | (#30092348)

Very far from true.

The list of countries with no extradition treaties with the US is, more or less:
Afghanistan, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Armenia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, the Central African Republic, Chad, China (People's Republic of China), the Union of the Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cote d' Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Indonesia, Jordan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Laos, Lebanon, Libya, Madagascar, the Maldives, Mali, the Marshall Islands, Mauritania, the Federated States of Micronesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Niger, Oman, Qatar, the Russian Federation, Rwanda, Samoa, São Tomé & Príncipe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Yemen, Zimbabwe, Bhutan, Iran, Taiwan, Korea (North).

Re:Alan Johnson is a twat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30092394)

i.e., the ass cracks of the world...

Re:Alan Johnson is a twat (1)

TheModelEskimo (968202) | more than 4 years ago | (#30092450)

"Cool, I pick Korea!!! No extradition for me!"

*reads closer*

"OH CRAP"

Re:Moral of the story: (1)

goga_russian (544604) | more than 4 years ago | (#30092456)

how does it go anyone remember? in Soviet Russia... well no one extradites you ! :) Welcome to Russia. Ahoy Mateys.

Re:Moral of the story: (4, Funny)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 4 years ago | (#30091880)

If you destroy evidence, make sure you destroy the backups, too.

Also, make sure you destroy evidence of your destruction of evidence and backups.

Re:Moral of the story: (0, Redundant)

mayko (1630637) | more than 4 years ago | (#30091902)

If you destroy evidence, make sure you destroy the backups, too.

Also, make sure you destroy evidence of your destruction of evidence and backups.

And don't forget to destroy evidence of your destruction of your destruction of evidence and backups.

Re:Moral of the story: (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 4 years ago | (#30091984)

>>> If you destroy evidence, make sure you destroy the backups, too.

>> Also, make sure you destroy evidence of your destruction of evidence and backups.

> And don't forget to destroy evidence of your destruction of your destruction of evidence and backups.

But always make backups!

Wait...something's wrong here...

I know, claim that since your WiFi access point is unsecured, someone could have hacked the system! "Yeah, it was a virus from a popup or a hacker or something that did that!"

Re:Moral of the story: (4, Funny)

skine (1524819) | more than 4 years ago | (#30092004)

Don't forget to destroy the evidence of your destruction of the evidence of the destruction of the evidence and backups and its backups and its backups.

Re:Moral of the story: (5, Funny)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 4 years ago | (#30092084)

Don't forget to destroy the evidence of your destruction of the evidence of the destruction of the evidence and backups and its backups and its backups.

This is going to turn into one of two things: A painting of Stephen Colbert, or an episode of Black Adder.

I'm good with either outcome, really.

I'm disappointed at /. mods :( (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30092372)

How in hell can you programmer types mod that redundant? It should be "Recursive"

Re:I'm disappointed at /. mods :( (0)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | more than 4 years ago | (#30092464)

int grumpyMod(int score)
{
printf("Redundant");
return grumpyMod(score-1);
}

Re:Moral of the story: (4, Insightful)

OnlineAlias (828288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30092362)

Well, the problem is they were sending out statements. Those statements were theoretically based on input from the markets, after the amounts were made bigger by the black box which was Madoff's investment "strategy". Once the black box was determined to be a fraud, the programmers were done, because they implemented the black box. At that point ,no amount of deleting was going to get them out of being implicated.

Re:Moral of the story: (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30091970)

Should have used perl.

Re:Moral of the story: (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 4 years ago | (#30091974)

this things so big, the only way to destroy all the evidence is to hack into Russian missile command and launch the nukes aimed at the U.S. -- Oh, and a well timed trip to a nice country somewhere in the southern hemisphere might be a good idea.

But (4, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#30091704)

So tell me, when are they going to go after the programmers at Goldman Sachs?

Right after the revolution (2, Insightful)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 4 years ago | (#30091768)

You realise GS pretty much pwns the US government.

 

Re:Right after the revolution (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#30091828)

You realise GS pretty much pwns the US government.

      And the stock market. After all, if they have a program that 'can' be used to 'manipulate the stock market' [businessinsider.com] , are we to take Goldman's multi-billion dollar a quarter profit making word of "oh, but HEAVENS NO, we're not manipulating the stock market, that would be illegal - perish the thought!" word for it? Arrest those programmers too.

Re:Right after the revolution (1, Flamebait)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 4 years ago | (#30091922)

... and also arrest the programmers at Moodys, Standard and Poors, Fitch, and AIG. I'm sure they'd be willing to cooperate in return for consideration.

That won't happen, because people like Warren Buffett made out like bandits under the bail-out [huffingtonpost.com] .

Re:Right after the revolution (4, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30092342)

I hate articles filled with lies.

Buffet routinely lobbied against the bailout legislation.

Buffet did lobby for bailouts of a different nature, in which the government would get voting stock in the companies they bailed out, there were clear stipulations on where money was spent (so it didn't go into pockets like his), and there was massive accountability.

When Buffet bailed out GE, he laid out such a framework and encouraged the government to follow suit. And while Buffet has a high personal worth because of stock he owns, he has always been know to live frugally, and is now giving away the massive bulk of his wealth.

However Buffet is a known conservative, so a liberally-slanted website is all but obligated to go on a character assassination for no good reason. (I'm neither Republican nor Democrat. I just hate lying. If anything, I support true liberalism, in which there is less government restriction period, and personal liberties are protected as much as possible).

Re:Right after the revolution (4, Interesting)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#30092498)

Buffet routinely lobbied against the bailout legislation.

      Buffet is a smart man. And everyone was against the bailout legislation. Except of course those to be bailed out, and the Pelosi inspired politicians.

      I still remember the reports when it was first mentioned. "All my constituents aren't saying "No", they're saying "HELL NO!"". All that got swept under a pile of money however.

      It's curious for me that, living in Costa Rica, the US dollar has plummeted against our local currency - to the point where a can of Coke is now twice as expensive here versus in the US (due to local inflation continuing despite our currency appreciating against the dollar). I think soon US citizens won't be able to afford to travel outside the US. It's a real pain in the ass for me, because I earn in dollars, so I'm becoming relatively poorer too compared to my wife who earns in local currency. We're talking 10-15% poorer in the past 3 months alone. Running the money printing presses in the US has everything to do with this. But no one listened to Ludwig von Mises [wsj.com] the first time, anyway.

Re:Right after the revolution (3, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#30092006)

I think you're reading too much into it.

The idea being that a large investment firm, and possibly others and their clients, are all using certain code to help them decide when to execute trades. An unscrupulous third party could use knowledge of that code to place investments that trigger trades by GS, which is large enough to affect the market. In effect manipulating the market by manipulating GS.

The market gets manipulated by the sheer size of GS, and the main loser would be GS, as well, since they're already using their software to maximize their own benefit.

Which brings to mind the issue that the sheer size of GS is the real issue, not the software that they use. Someone here once said, "too big to fail? More like too big to be allowed to exist!" Everyone that received bail-out money should be broken into smaller entities on a staggered basis when the economy recovers.

Re:Right after the revolution (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30092300)

Which brings to mind the issue that the sheer size of GS is the real issue, not the software that they use. Someone here once said, "too big to fail? More like too big to be allowed to exist!" Everyone that received bail-out money should be broken into smaller entities on a staggered basis when the economy recovers.

There's the old joke (updated for today's numbers) - "if you owe the bank $100,000 that's your problem. If you owe them a billion dollars, that's their probelm."

Re:Right after the revolution (-1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 4 years ago | (#30092088)

when moving hundreds of billions of dollars a quarter making 1% profit isn't all that impressive.

Sort of like the exxon mobil of last year. when they did set a new record of profits, something like $9 billion. However they did it by earning $140 billion in sales. Something like 8% profit. most companies need 30% to survive. Dell is struggling. They do $14 billion in sales but only have a profit of $1.5 billion. That's 10% 10% barely covers overhead, and employee salaries.

dollar amount of profit is useless unless you know how much money was spent to earn it legally or not. Saying I earned $50,000 last year doesn't factor in the fact that I spent $55,000 on things.

Re:Right after the revolution (4, Informative)

WarwickRyan (780794) | more than 4 years ago | (#30092216)

> That's 10% 10% barely covers overhead, and employee salaries.

Put simply, Profit = Revenue - Costs.

All overheads, salaries etc ARE costs. So Dell's $1.5b profit on sales of $14b isn't at all bad at all. It's very good.

What you're talking about is margin - the difference between the cost price of something and the sale price. The figure of "30%" is a generally accepted minimum margin for a business. I think it's based on a reseller. If you buy a box of paper in at $10, then you should have to sell it for $15 (plus tax if applicable) in order to survive. That $5 should cover all of your costs, with a little left over for profit.

Re:Right after the revolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30092246)

Why isn't profit figured after things like salaries and infrastructure overhead? Isn't that all under operating costs? Profit should only be what is left over after all accounts are paid and all money is in.

Re:Right after the revolution (1)

geeper (883542) | more than 4 years ago | (#30092248)

Profits are the monies kept AFTER paying overhead, employee salaries, cost of goods sold, etc. A company can survive easily on a single digit profit percentage.

Re:Right after the revolution (0)

Z34107 (925136) | more than 4 years ago | (#30092396)

Profits are the monies kept AFTER paying overhead, employee salaries, cost of goods sold, etc. A company can survive easily on a single digit profit percentage.

This is only partially true. A firm may still be "profitable" at single percentage profits. But, why go through all the hassle of running a business, paying employees, maintaining equipment, finding customers, etc. when putting your money in a savings account would give you a better return?

Re:Right after the revolution (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30092204)

Maybe just force them to open source and distribute the code freely so that everyone is on a level playing field. Oh wait, the stock market isn't a level playing field and the Jews always win.

Re:But (3, Insightful)

XPeter (1429763) | more than 4 years ago | (#30091774)

The Goldman programmers aren't the problem. The lobbyists are.

Re:But (0, Redundant)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 4 years ago | (#30092182)

When lobbyists are outlawed, only outlaws will have lobbyists.

Re:But (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 4 years ago | (#30091776)

when are they going to go after the god damn CRIMINALS at Goldman Sachs.

Re:But (2, Insightful)

ShatteredArm (1123533) | more than 4 years ago | (#30091918)

Since when was it a crime to have a former CEO in charge of the US Treasury, who has an obvious financial interest in the firm's survival?
Since when was it a crime to be the exclusive market maker in CDS, after your two major competitors go out of business, giving you a completely risk-free profit on bit-ask spreads?
Since when was it a crime to upgrade a company whose stock offering you are underwriting?

Re:But (1)

master5o1 (1068594) | more than 4 years ago | (#30092232)

Since when was it a crime to have a former CEO in charge of the US Treasury, who has an obvious financial interest in the firm's survival?

Could be seen as a conflict of interest.

Re:But (1)

J4 (449) | more than 4 years ago | (#30091778)

Bloomberg is the guy to nail. It all started with his magic box.

Re:But (1)

ShatteredArm (1123533) | more than 4 years ago | (#30091832)

You kidding? They're just doing the work of the Lord. [lolfed.com]

“The injunction of Jesus to love others as ourselves is an endorsement of self-interest,” Goldman’s Griffiths said Oct. 20, his voice echoing around the gold-mosaic walls of St. Paul’s Cathedral, whose 365-feet-high dome towers over the City, London’s financial district. “We have to tolerate the inequality as a way to achieving greater prosperity and opportunity for all.”

Re:But (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 4 years ago | (#30091938)

"We have to tolerate the inequality as a way to achieving greater prosperity and opportunity for all."

Apparently this guy is either in denial or is ignorant about what GS is actually doing -- it is clear that their high-speed trading is effectively a zero sum game and by enriching themselves, they are not providing greater prosperity for others. In fact, they provide the reverse -- they impoverish the rest of us.

But what should we expect from them? When I was young (a long time ago), the banks did not hire the brightest people -- they hired the second rate school leavers -- bright enough to do well at school, but not go on to university.

Re:But (2, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#30092078)

it is clear that their high-speed trading is effectively a zero sum game and by enriching themselves, they are not providing greater prosperity for others.

      So long as I can still make money day trading on the stock market, I don't care. And I CAN still make money.

      The high speed trading provides liquidity. I need someone to buy stock from me or sell stock to me. Without these traders, I'd place a bid/ask and wait. And wait. And wait. And maybe I'd get my price. Maybe I wouldn't, in which case I'd waste both my time and the missed opportunity. When you're day trading you usually need to get in and out FAST. Doing otherwise is called "investing", not day trading.

      What concerns me is the ability of a multi-trillion dollar company to have access to more information than you (ie, level 3), and since they are brokers possibly the ability to track and uniquely identify shares. So they can, in theory, know who bought what at what price and therefore who is holding what thanks to databases, and thus use their vast resources to pressure people into closing/covering their positions to their advantage. THAT is unfair and should be illegal. It's akin to knowing the order of cards in a deck. It's an unfair advantage. However without breaking into their proprietary computer records, we'll never know if something like this is actually happening. It probably is.

      The good thing is, as a little fish, it's not my 1000 share or so transactions that is going to make them want to single me out to screw me over. I pity the banks and mutual funds, however.

Re:But (1)

yurtinus (1590157) | more than 4 years ago | (#30092212)

Using day trading to justify the existence of GS... This is an interesting angle, have you considered writing a book?

Re:But (0)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#30092356)

Using day trading to justify the existence of GS...

      Not at all. Where do I justify GS?

      I am justifying high speed/frequency trading. After all, I approximate it myself, only not with software and special connections to trading computers. Just knowing what I expect, having my closing order set up, going in and getting the hell out the second I've made what I wanted to make. I'd rather make $20 20 times a day than try to make $400 once. It's a lot easier.

GS is much more than just that high speed/frequency trading. I disagree with companies like GS. I don't believe in "too big to fail", I believe in "too big to exist". I think their very size encourages greed, corruption and the economy of a nation. But that's a whole other argument.

Re:But (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30092236)

Me, me, me.

Re:But (4, Interesting)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30092152)

The injunction of Jesus to love others as ourselves is an endorsement of self-interest

Ah yes. A great Biblical scholar. All Biblical scholars know that Jesus definitely was trying to protect self-interest. So was Paul, when he said

Philippians 2:3 (New International Version)
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

And Jesus when He talked about being meek, humble, lowly, generous, forgiving, feeding the poor, clothing the naked. And the rest of the Bible when it talks about humility, that God hates the pride, that God "sides" with the humble, that God resists the proud, that God sees the poor and needy, that God judges the unjust - especially when they are rich and they unjustly treat the poor ...

Definitely "an endorsement of self-interest." Frankly, I would guess that Griffiths has never read the Bible but pulled that quote from somewhere because he was in St. Paul's Cathedral and thus wanted to appear religious in some way. To most people that actually have read the Bible and even more so to people that believe it, he only comes off as being ignorant and just using the words of Jesus to excuse his own selfishness and greed (also talked about in the Bible in quite condemning terms). Not sure that's what he meant to do.

Re:But (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#30091852)

So tell me, when are they going to go after the programmers at Goldman Sachs?

Because the US is a nation of laws and you have to break a law first before they can go after you.

Re:But (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30091914)

Correction.. you have to get CAUGHT breaking the law.

Re:But (2, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#30091928)

Because the US is a nation of laws

      George Bush proved that wrong.

you have to break a law first before they can go after you.

      Unless the programmers were committing fraud by asking people for investment money with no intention to return it, how are they breaking the law? I'm unaware that Madoff was hacking people's computers, creating viruses, or even downloading copyrighted movies.

      If you're a programmer hired to write a financial or accounting program, and never given information as to how that program is going to be actually used - how are you breaking the law? Hell if this logic applies, go after Microsoft too because I'm sure that Madoff used Microsoft Word to send mail to some of his clients.

      OK perhaps there's some detail we don't know, and will find out at trial - perhaps some programmers were in on the fact that it was a scam. However this reeks to me of overzealous prosecutors trying to spread as much blame around as possible. Hell they could start with arresting the SEC for never investigating the guy, in that case.

Re:But (3, Informative)

ShatteredArm (1123533) | more than 4 years ago | (#30091952)

Hell they could start with arresting the SEC for never investigating the guy, in that case.

THIS

The SEC had been tipped off on this scam at least three years before it "surfaced."

Re:But (4, Informative)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#30092044)

perhaps some programmers were in on the fact that it was a scam

FTFA:

[according to the prosecutor] The computer codes and random algorithms they allegedly designed served to deceive investors and regulators and concealed Madoff's crimes

At one point they tried to cover their tracks by erasing files, but did an incomplete job.

After that, the SEC said DiPascali convinced the programmers to modify programs so that he and other employees could create [fake] reports themselves.

... which indicates that although they might have been bothered by what they were doing, they weren't bothered enough to quit,or call in the Feds themselves, or take any other redeeming action.

Granted, they're innocent until proven guilty, etc., but it appears they were in this up to their ears.

Re:But (2, Insightful)

werfele (611119) | more than 4 years ago | (#30092200)

Unless the programmers were committing fraud by asking people for investment money with no intention to return it, how are they breaking the law?

I understand Madoff would provide quarterly statements showing a more-or-less constant rate of return, listing fictitious trades that would justify the rate of return, using knowledge of actual prices in the past quarter to get the numbers to come out just right (which is easy enough in hindsight). I'm all for presuming these guys innocent, but I think your outrage is misplaced. It's hard to imagine a spec for this software that wouldn't be at least a bit suspicious, so you can hardly blame them for looking into the programmers.

Re:But (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30092224)

George Bush proved that wrong.

Well, I stopped taking you seriously. Thanks for doing that before your long post, though you should have let me know earlier in the thread that you're a moron, since I read through your other post.

Re:But (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#30092278)

I'm sure that Madoff used Microsoft Word to send mail to some of his clients.

I'm sure he made his calculations using Powerpoint too.

Actually, that would explain a lot...

Re:But (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30092406)

The basic problem is - how can you write the programs and databases to produce fake trades and statements without having a clue what they are for and that the use is for fraud?
The only logical defence is "it was an AS400 and nobody can figure out RPG-II code."
I have trouble imagining that Madoff was such a whiz that he could take a harmless program and use it to construct a $50M fraud.

If you program this stuff and deliberately ignore what it's obviouly for, then you are either complicit (I hope you got paid big bucks...!) or you are too stupid to be free.

Re:But (4, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#30091956)

That's easy: when there is evidence that they committed a crime.

Goldman Sachs's behavior is probably completely legal (that doesn't mean it's morally right, just legal). Also, it's extremely unlikely that programmers working in the bowels of the big investment banks (GS, MS, BoA) are in on any lawbreaking that does occur.

It seems like these guys made several stupid mistakes:
- Being loyal to Madoff et al once they knew what was going on.
- Being willing to lie to the FBI and/or SEC.
- Taking big bonuses to keep their mouth shut.
- Staying in the country after the house of cards fell apart.

Re:But (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30092028)

What law did they allegedly break?

Re:But (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#30092100)

They went after a couple executives at GS, and the prosecutors totally botched the case (being a bit of a tin-foil hatter, I believe the Powers That Be might have had a hand in the awful prosecution).

But GS is above such scrutiny anyway... why would they break the law when they can just make sure the law is changed to benefit them?

If you're going to prosecute GS, you'd be better off finding a way to prosecute the legislators and regulators who allow GS (and others) to skim the cream off the nation's collective labors.

Were they black? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30091720)

If they were niggers they can say this is because of racism. After all, we excuse the high crime rate, the fact that the majority of black males will be incarcerated by the age of 30, the high nigger poverty rate, and the tiny tiny percent of niggers in college by blaming it all on racism. Because the beliefs white people hold can somehow make you commit crimes yeah sure. Niggers.

Another case of bad parenting? (3, Interesting)

jhfry (829244) | more than 4 years ago | (#30091736)

I always tell my kids that "so-and-so made me do it" is no defense. And I'm sure nearly every parent has taught their children that for generations. I hope these guys roast for not listening to their parents!

Re:Another case of bad parenting? (1)

XPeter (1429763) | more than 4 years ago | (#30091930)

<quote><p>I always tell my kids that "so-and-so made me do it" is no defense.</p></quote>

Oh boy your one of those fathers who always goes in to check the "collaborative shindig" for liquor, aren't you?

Re:Another case of bad parenting? (3, Insightful)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 4 years ago | (#30092176)

Oh boy your one of those fathers who always goes in to check the "collaborative shindig" for liquor, aren't you?

You mean "a good father?"

Re:Another case of bad parenting? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30091950)

Assuming they knowingly did something illegal.

Of course, they work with computers, so they will probably get 450 year and have their jury railroaded.

Re:Another case of bad parenting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30091966)

You're wrong, a recent study shows that candy is the culprit here, the more candy you are given as a child the more likely that you'll become a criminal.

crontab (4, Funny)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 4 years ago | (#30091762)

Apparently Madoff's fraud was too large and too complex to be foisted entirely by hand

And that's why we have cellscripts and conjobs

What's the motivation? (4, Funny)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 4 years ago | (#30091800)

There are so many great opportunities out there for making a legitimate living programming that it makes me wonder why these guys volunteered to spend the best years of their lives stealing from people.

Re:What's the motivation? (2, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#30091872)

There are so many great opportunities out there for making a legitimate living programming that it makes me wonder why these guys volunteered to spend the best years of their lives stealing from people.

Something like this, they'd have to be paid a lot better than what they could make legitimately.

Re:What's the motivation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30091878)

I would imagine in a 50 billion dollar ponzi scheme, they are probably going to pay these programmers more than 100k.... even at a lowly $1 million, that's still 10 years worth of work for a programmer. And I'd also imagine if they were aware of what they were helping in, that they would ask for substantially more than just a million. I'm just not sure why they're still in the States and not on some beach in Venezuela or something.

Re:What's the motivation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30092134)

TFA says they paid 25% more plus 60000 in bonuses. How much of the Bonuses and raise would have been paid even if not hushmoney? Who knows. Maybe these guys just wanted to keep their jobs. They are just generating reports. What the boss does with them is not their concern. Programmers are like janitors. Maybe the company is a criminal operation, but are you going to put the janitors in jail because they aided and abetted in cleaning the toilets?

Re:What's the motivation? (3, Informative)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#30091908)

From the article:

Madoff told DiPascali to pay the programmers "whatever they wanted in order to keep them happy," the investigators said, and the programmers received pay increases of about 25 percent and net bonuses of about $60,000.

Pay increase of 25% above what was probably already a good salary and a bonus that alone matches or exceeds what a lot of programmers make in a year.

Re:What's the motivation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30092046)

Those numbers are not terribly out of line for what a good programmer makes on wallstreet. These guys worked cheap given what they enabled. Unless there are a whole different set of books where they were getting mid six figures or better each year in some offshore account, then I have to doubt whether these guys are really culpable to any significant degree.

Anyone who really was working to defraud the SEC should have known what the real numbers were, and anyone with half a brain would have demanded a larger piece of the pie in return for the risk they were taking. I bet it turns out that these guys had no idea of the scope of what was going on. But, I bet they end up taking a big fall anyway. Easier to beat up a couple of relatively poor technicians than go after all the well-monied architects.

M.O.N.E.Y. (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30091978)

That's the usual reason.

Re:What's the motivation? (4, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30092002)

You're a computer programmer, in your mid 40s. Finding work is difficult for a programmer after 40, every one around you is becoming stinking rich, law enforcement seems to not pay attention when things go well, you have kids in college, and you boss is pressuring.

Every day you go in and deal with these people, everyday they lie and cut corners and get rich without any legal issues.

What they did was wrong, but I can certainly understand why they did it, and I can't say for 100% I wouldn't have done the same thing. I like to think I wouldn't, but still.

Re:What's the motivation? (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 4 years ago | (#30092058)

Some people don't have your morals, and might actually find a high paying job like this desirable: (cnn) [cnn.com] "A new lawsuit alleges that convicted swindler Bernie Madoff financed a cocaine-fueled work environment and a "culture of sexual deviance," "

Re:What's the motivation? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30092062)

What do you mean? So a good software guy makes some low 6-figure salary, Madoff's guys made close to 7-figures, if not more. Even the secretary there made over 200k..

A good software guy can buy a house in the suburbs, not too far from the office and maybe drive a Lexus. These guys lived in Manhattan and drove $100k+ cars, probably had a couple. You might have a babysitter or day care, they have au pairs. You have some 401k matching up to a few percent, they get maxed out and then they get to invest in the hedge fund that was doing consistent over 12% returns, as a perk.. Of course there are opportunities... your wife might work while theirs can stay home with the kids (when they aren't at the gym) and they still bring home more money. Your kid turns 16 and you might buy an old beater car to work on and get them around, they can get their kids brand new Mercedes with all the safety features you can imagine. We're talking about lifestyle altering amounts of money here. The kinds of money that alters you kids' lifestyles.

What's funny to me, so the engineers take the drop, they take notes, they knew what was up, they probably helped cover it up. Damn near everyone in the office knew what was going on and probably the managers of most of the feeder funds did. At least a couple did some due diligence, they had to, competitors suspected it was a scam. If they were remotely intelligent about it, they hid some cash away somewhere so their families will be taken care of. You'll see very few bankers go down for this though.

Re:What's the motivation? (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 4 years ago | (#30092440)

A good software guy can buy a house in the suburbs, not too far from the office and maybe drive a Lexus. These guys lived in Manhattan and drove $100k+ cars, probably had a couple. .

Houses in the suburb can be pretty expensive. By me, in a mediocre neighborhood (middle-middle class) you're still talking 500k for a 2-3 bedroom house in the suburbs. Heck, 1 bedroom condos are often 275k.

Re:What's the motivation? (2, Interesting)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#30092064)

Not necessarily.

After the Y2K and the 2001 tech crash, there wasn't as much of a demand for coders, especially with most of the new projects being web based - if you were a C/C++ coder, there were more coders than jobs.* Also, offshoring was picking up steam and then there is the age factor. When you get above 40, folks start wondering why you're still wanting to code or they think you're too old to be doing the 80+ hour week crunch periods or you're not willing (or too smart) to do that - either way, there is some age-ism in tech. Yeah, yeah, I know there are folks who are in their 60s working at jobs coding - I knew one myself, but they're not the norm.

Now, when your back is against the wall and someone puts a shit load of cash under your nose doing something that may or may not be ethical or even legal, you may do it. I wouldn't judge these guys unless you've been in their shoes.

The other thing is, I'm sure Madoff did NOT tell them upfront that what they were doing was illegal. He or his cohorts just gave those guys a programming assignment and didn't give specifics. Later on, those guys probably had a good idea what was going on, though but then, who knows what was going through their heads. Maybe, "Hey, we haven't been caught after all these years. WTF!"

*Look now, Microsoft has even laid people off! Times are rough! There are job postings at a few companies I know of and they're telling me that they're getting bombarded by very qualified people. To weed them out, they're getting ridiculously picky.

Well, of course. (5, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#30091834)

If you've followed the details of the Madoff scandal, it was obvious that it required substantial computer support.

Each month, Madoff's investors got statements which showed fictitious trades and fictitious profits. The phony trades were for real stocks, with prices which were (almost) real. But the trades were chosen retrospectively, which is like betting on a race after it's run. So superficially reasonable statements came out. This was all generated on an AS-400 that had been in use for this for several decades.

The software wasn't very good. If they'd been better at it, they could have generated statements which showed trades which exactly matched real trades of others (from the "tape"; trades are public but traders are anonymous), delivered trade confirmations every day, and still shown phony profits just by picking trades randomly distributed around the 75% of each day's trades. That would survive external examination, but not a real audit. Close looks at Madoff statements show trades which could not possibly have occurred; the price is outside the day's trading range. Sloppy.

Re:Well, of course. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30091942)

Dang dude, you've thought this out!

Sloppy huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30092116)

If it's so sloppy - make a better one then!
Just kidding.

Re:Well, of course. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30092180)

If you've followed the details of the Madoff scandal, it was obvious that it required substantial computer support.

Each month, Madoff's investors got statements which showed fictitious trades and fictitious profits. The phony trades were for real stocks, with prices which were (almost) real. But the trades were chosen retrospectively, which is like betting on a race after it's run. So superficially reasonable statements came out.
This was all generated on an AS-400 that had been in use for this for several decades.

The software wasn't very good. If they'd been better at it, they could have generated statements which showed trades which exactly matched real trades of others (from the "tape"; trades are public but traders are anonymous), delivered trade confirmations every day, and still shown phony profits just by picking trades randomly distributed around the 75% of each day's trades. That would survive external examination, but not a real audit. Close looks at Madoff statements show trades which could not possibly have occurred; the price is outside the day's trading range. Sloppy.

YOUR HIRED!

your friendly Goldman Sachs recruiter,

Beelzebub

interesting (4, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#30091860)

I went to an engineering school that was founded in the aftermath of WW2, so had a strong ethos of: "scientists and engineers need to understand what we're doing and why, not just implement stuff other people tell us to". I.e., don't assume the people above you are in charge of the "why" and as the scientist/engineer all you need to care about is the "how". Usually it's seen as more of an ethics thing, but interesting to be reminded that on occasion it can be a matter of self-interest, too, since you have a legal responsibility to know what you're doing and why, at least to some minimum degree.

Re:interesting (1)

systemeng (998953) | more than 4 years ago | (#30092164)

Are you at Harvey Mudd?

Re:interesting (1, Interesting)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 4 years ago | (#30092490)

Unfortunately, programmers aren't licensed and accountable like real engineers are.

Chump Change Compared To (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30091874)

the trillions stolen with OTC Derivatives [pbs.org] .

"We didn't truly know the dangers of the market, because it was a dark market," says Brooksley Born, the head of an obscure federal regulatory agency -- the Commodity Futures Trading Commission [CFTC] -- who not only warned of the potential for economic meltdown in the late 1990s, but also tried to convince the country's key economic powerbrokers to take actions that could have helped avert the crisis. "They were totally opposed to it," Born says. "That puzzled me. What was it that was in this market that had to be hidden?" (more )

Yours In Petrograd,
Kilgore T.

Mock Objects (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30091896)

Thats Mock Objects for you. I guess they were using it for real deployment too!

The REAL lesson of this. (2, Funny)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 4 years ago | (#30091926)

When you are a little fish . . . run to your lawyer, then together make yourselves the very best friends that the FBI ever had.

"Computer Wizards" (1)

MRe_nl (306212) | more than 4 years ago | (#30091948)

"Nunc Id Vides, Nunc Ne Vides"

++?????++ Out of Cheese Error. Redo From Start.

Erpheus (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30091962)

Win free money by searching with google. 3cents per search. Regiter at:

http://www.search-pay.com/?r=1270

fdsf (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30092026)

Horse cock!

Who The Fuck ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30092050)

Are Jerome O' Hara and George Perez ? Should have mentioned that in the article summary for the uninitiated.

But I was just following the specs... (1)

sprior (249994) | more than 4 years ago | (#30092102)

So apparently "I was just following the specs" doesn't work any better than "I was just following orders"...

mod uP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30092178)

same year, BSD 'first post' Whether you the 3hoosing

Hmmm... (1)

tds67 (670584) | more than 4 years ago | (#30092274)

Madoff's long-time deputy's name is Frank DiPascali? I would have figured he would be the computer programmer.

The two programmers are off the hook (1)

tds67 (670584) | more than 4 years ago | (#30092360)

DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTY. The software is licensed “as-is.” You bear the risk of using it. Madoffsoft gives no express warranties, guarantees or conditions. To the extent permitted under your local laws, Madoffsoft excludes the implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose and non-infringement.

Have they not seen Office Space? (2, Funny)

PeterChenoweth (603694) | more than 4 years ago | (#30092454)

It's all about the decimal places.

I hope they enjoy their stay at Federal Pound-Me-In-The-Ass Prison.

"Bernie Madoff's Programmers Arrested"???... (5, Funny)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 4 years ago | (#30092474)

...Oh My God! Does this mean Bernie Madoff was a robot?
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?