Elie Wiesel Foundation Wiped Out In Madoff ‘Ponzi’

Elie Wiesel

Elie Wiesel

In a stunning announcement, the Elie Wiesel Foundation For Humanity said it lost “substantially all” of its assets in the alleged Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme.

It has been known for two weeks that significant foundation money was under Madoff’s management. But the foundation now says it had entrusted $15.2 million to Madoff, in essence the entirety of its assets.

“We are deeply saddened and distressed that we, along with many others, have been the victims of what may be one of the largest investment frauds in history. We are writing to inform you that the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity had $15.2 million under management with Bernard Madoff Investment Securities. This represented substantially all of the Foundation’s assets,” the foundation said in a statement.

“The values we stand for are more needed than ever. We want to assure you that the Foundation remains committed to carrying on the lifelong work of our founder, Elie Wiesel. We shall not be deterred from our mission to combat indifference, intolerance, and injustice around the world.

“At this difficult time, the Foundation wishes to express its profound gratitude for all your support,” the foundation said.

Elie Wiesel is a Holocaust survivor, a prominenet writer and the recipient of the 1986 Nobel Prize for Peace. He and his wife, Marion, launched the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity after Elie received the Nobel Prize.

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2 Responses to “Elie Wiesel Foundation Wiped Out In Madoff ‘Ponzi’”

  1. While this news was certainly a shocker to many, it is regrettably going to be the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

    There are many foundations, endowments, and charitable organizations that will soon feel the real sting of this massive Ponzi. Many received payouts from Madoff, and now the government must decide if they want to go after all the money paid out since it was from illegal activities. Like most nonprofits, most have spent the money. To have to give all or a part of it back would cause even greater financial harm. The same goes for those high net-worth individuals who received payments from Madoff. Besides having their net-worth take a massive hit, now they could also be faced with having to give what they received from Madoff back, and thus depleting their fortunes even more.

    The scale of this Ponzi will be far greater than what has already been exposed, and will do more damage to the U.S. economy than the housing melt-down. You are going to see a major shift in the wealth in this country, and in Europe as well. This is not just a U.S. problem, as his business dealings were global. I am also afraid the recent suicide from this Ponzi will not be the last. Many family fortunes going back centuries could be lost because of this Ponzi.

    It is truly going to be interesting to see just how hard the government goes after illegal monies paid to nonprofits and the wealthy. This is one time being a receiver is not an easy or a prestigious job. This will require walking on eggshells while wearing combat boots.

  2. Hi Lynn,

    Your “eggshells” and “combat boots” description is an apt one.

    Funny, but some people are blaming the government for taking action in the AdSurfDaily case — and yet others are faulting the government for not interceding years ago in Madoff’s operation.

    A Ponzi is a Ponzi, whether it’s $100 million — certainly no small amount of money — or $50 billion. Ponzis suck wealth regardless of size.

    Greenspan famously used the phrase “irrational exuberance” to describe speculative bubbles. But the phrase also neatly describes Ponzi schemes.

    “Ponzi” is a word that has been in the news a lot recently. Wouldn’t surprise me if another shoe drops in the weeks ahead, perhaps even a Ponzi within a Ponzi.

    That’s what the autosurfs do: Create other autosurfs to feed the machine, a sort of fund to a fund similar to the variety in play in the Madoff case.