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Advanced Level Reading: Law, Finance and Business

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This lesson is about the infamous Bernard Madoff. He is known for one of the worst investment frauds in history. If you are interested in finance, economics, investment or any related area of business, then this lesson is perfect for you!

Bernard Madoff to be sentenced for investment scam

Financier Bernard Madoff will be sentenced on Tuesday for swindling investors out of billions of dollars.

Published: 6:46AM BST 16 Jun 2009

The 71-year-old American admitted masterminding a massive "Ponzi" pyramid scheme that duped thousands of investors.

Madoff, who previously enjoyed a respected, high-profile Wall Street career, faces the prospect of spending the rest of his life behind bars.

He pleaded guilty in a New York court in March to 11 charges of fraud, perjury and false reporting.

The fallen financier, a former chairman of the Nasdaq stock exchange, apologised for his actions, claiming the fraud began in the 1990s in response to the pain of recession.

He told the court he was "deeply sorry and ashamed" about his crimes.

He said he knew the fraud was "wrong" and "criminal" but added: "I believed it would end shortly and I would be able to extricate myself and my clients from the scheme."

As time went on it proved "difficult" and then "impossible" to end, he said.

Madoff told the court: "As the years went by, I realised my risk, and this day would inevitably come."

Madoff explained in court how he conducted the fraud.

He said the pyramid scheme operated alongside a legitimate part of the business run by his sons and brother.

Accepting his pleas, the judge Denny Chin remanded Madoff in custody at New York's Metropolitan Correctional Centre.

Under the investment fraud, more than 50 billion dollars of clients' money was pumped into the Ponzi scheme under the pretence it was being invested in securities.

Instead the money was deposited in bank accounts and used periodically to pay out to other investors to maintain the impression they were making steady returns.

When the scam was exposed, Madoff claimed to hold 65 billion dollars worth of client money relating to 4,800 investors.

In reality, only around one billion dollars was left with his firm.

Most of the missing money has not been located although prosecutors have set out about seizing assets such as property and boats.

Madoff and his wife Ruth lived a life of luxury, with homes in Manhattan, the Hamptons and Palm Beach, Florida.

He was known for his charitable work and until his arrest in December he was seen as a champion of transparency and integrity.

His investors included Madoff's friends and neighbours, as well as charities and banks such as HSBC and Abbey owner Santander.

British businesswoman Nicola Horlick hit the headlines when it emerged she managed Bramdean Alternatives, which had 9 per cent of its finds invested with Madoff's scheme.


  1. Look up all the orange words.
  2. Complete the gaps with one correct word/ phrase. You may need to change the form of certain verbs/ nouns/ adjectives/ adverbs.
Cambridge Dictionaries Online

Lesson by Siba, EC London English language school

  • 1 - Madoff an investment scheme that cost investors billions of dollars.
  • 2 - The scheme did not show any and so it was not very clear where the money was going.
  • 3 - are things that a business owns. This can include machinery, property and office furniture.
  • 4 - The police all the money.
  • 5 - The thief was and he was caught.
  • 6 - I need to go to the bank and the money into my account.
  • 7 - The company issues magazines .
  • 8 - It is better for your business to make progress than fluctuate.
  • 9 - The shoe factory equalled £28 million last year.
  • 10 - I was nearly when I was on holiday. A man tried to get me to give him my hotel room key. He told me he was the manager. But I knew he was lying.
  • 11 - The criminal is now.
  • 12 - Her money is completely . It has not come from illegal trade.
  • 13 - The money was obtained under false .
  • 14 - In court he swore to tell the truth. However he lied and so he committed .
  • 15 - A is when returns are made quickly from new investors, rather than from legitimate trade.
  • 16 - All investors in a ‘Ponzi’ scheme are .