Madoff Jailhouse Interview: More Lies, Say Lawyers in Case

Con man tells NY Times banks, funds were "complicit" in Ponzi scheme.

ByABC News
February 16, 2011, 7:21 AM

Feb. 16, 2011 — -- Convicted con man Bernard Madoff claims major banks and hedge funds were "complicit" in his massive scam and that he has helped bankruptcy lawyers track billions of dollars in the money he stole.

His comments, made from prison Tuesday to New York Times reporter Diana Henriques, were branded as "more lies" by lawyers involved in the bankruptcy case.

"The man is incapable of telling the truth," said one lawyer of Madoff's claims that his information has helped bankruptcy trustee Irving Picard located missing money.

In the interview, and in earlier e-mails with the Times reporter, Madoff continued to insist members of his family and close friends -- including the owners of the New York Mets -- were unaware of the investment scam that defrauded thousands of victims out of at least $20 billion.

"They knew nothing. They knew nothing," he told the Times.

But Stephen Harbeck, President of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation, told ABC News he doesn't buy it.

"Some of these people were in control or were absolutely in a position to understand what was going on," he said.

Harbeck's comments echo a lawsuit filed against the an investment company owned in part by Mets owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon, close family friends of Madoff's.

The 370-plus page complaint filed in December by the trustee representing the victims of Madoff's scam allege that employees of the investment company, Sterling Equities, were told by an investment partner that Madoff's numbers were "too good to be true" but the company was "in too deep... to do anything but ignore the gathering clouds."

The complaint alleges that after Madoff's arrest in 2008, an employee for a Sterling Equities hedge fund, Sterling Stamos, sent an email in which the employee wrote, "I guess our CIO [Chief Investment Officer] always said it was a scam," the filing says. The complaint also claims Sterling Equities "was aware of and even enabled" Madoff's attempts to avoid regulatory scrutiny by insulating the firm from contact by other clients and their own employees.

Today Jeff Wilpon told reporters he and his father were victims of an "unfair, unfounded" attack for their connection to Madoff.

"We're going to fight [the case] and be victorious in the end," Wilpon said.