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FRONTLINE Worth Watching

Posted by Greg Petersen on 05/10 at 08:29 PM

A complex scheme revealed as only FRONTLINE can.

This week, the multi-award winning series, FRONTLINE, examines a complex story and tells it as only they can.

On Dec. 11, 2008, Bernard L. Madoff confessed that his vaunted investment business was all “one big lie,” a Ponzi scheme colossal in volume and scope that cost investors $65 billion. Overnight, Madoff became the new poster child for Wall Street gall, greed and corruption.

Through exclusive television interviews with those closest to Madoff’s operation, veteran FRONTLINE correspondent Martin Smith unearths the details of the world’s first global Ponzi scheme—a deception that lasted longer, reached wider and cut deeper than any other business scandal in history—in The Madoff Affair, airing Tuesday, May 12, 2009, at 9 P.M. ET on WPSU.

In a search for clues on how the fraud began, FRONTLINE traces Madoff’s story back to the early 1960s, when he first opened a small investment advisory business and hired two accountants, Frank Avellino and Michael Bienes, to help him recruit clients. In an exclusive television interview, Bienes describes those fruitful early years. It was “easy, easy-peasy, like a money machine,” Bienes tells FRONTLINE. When asked if he had ever questioned Madoff about his approach, Bienes says: “Never. Why would I ask him? I wouldn’t understand it if he explained it.”

It’s a fascinating piece of journalism that public TV can be proud of.

{name} Author: Greg Petersen
Bio: Director - Programming Services

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