Did Madoff Really Lose $50 Billion?

One sign of a real psychopath, we imagine, is someone who magnifies the scale of his crime even to the investigators who are charging him with and eventually punishing him for it. Bernard Madoff may fit the bill. According to the Associated Press, Madoff told investigators he stole $50 billion, but “A growing number of people involved in the case and outside observers are saying that the actual loss to investors could be far less than the mind-boggling total often treated as fact. The actual number is not known at this point, but some believe it's less than $20 billion.” The $50 billion number may include what one regulator calls “entirely fictitious profits.”