Family may have lost millions

December 17, 2008 9:28:11 PM PST
The so-called money manager and former NASDAQ chairman Bernard Madoff, who is accused of paying investors high returns with money from new investors, couldn't find two additional people to co-sign his $10 million dollar bail. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

Not even his two sons.

Instead of going to jail, a judge sent him home. He's under a curfew and has an electronic monitoring bracelet. Madoff is accused of operating what's known as a Ponzi scheme, essentially a shell-game with investors' money. The alleged Madoff con is estimated at $50 billion and one Houston woman is a victim.

Joyce Greenberg personally met Bernie Madoff twice and he's been a longtime associate of the family. She describes the investor as low key, laidback, even unpretentious, but now he may have cost her family millions.

Greenberg says it was her father who first met Madoff in the early 70's. He even set up a college fund for his grandchildren.

"Madoff did such a good job with my children's accounts," Greenberg told us.

Greenberg, a retired stockbroker of 31 years says she continued putting money with him for decades along with her late husband Jacob. Madoff was very successful for the family.

"There was absolutely nothing about Bernie Madoff that would arouse any suspicion," she noted

While Greenberg had closed the account, she decided to reopen it again in 2001. She's kept all her statements from each month.

"Wired the money that had come out of the account back to Bernard L. Madoff Securities," Greenberg said.

While Greenberg says she believes she has nothing left in her Madoff account, she didn't have all of her eggs in one basket.

"The family has lost millions," she admitted.

But it's a different story for a long list of her relatives including her 95 year old stepmother

This Houston victim says she believes Madoff was a good investor for years, then something changed.

"The two questions that I ask and that everybody who knew him asks is when and why," Greenberg said.

And what concerns her the most is he was allegedly able to fool a veteran stock broker and so many of his clients who knew and trusted him with their life savings.

"Unless he has gold bars some place in Switzerland, there is apparently not enough money to return to the people who invested with him," she said. Greenberg says there could be one saving grace and that's the SIPC symbol on her statements. It's an investor's first line of defense in the event a brokerage firm fails. But now she doesn't even know if that's real on her November 2008 account.

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