MADOFF'S DESPERATE ACTS TO SAVE FUND FROM IMPLOSION
By KAJA WHITEHOUSE and MARK DECAMBRE, NY Post
In a desperate bid to keep his sinking business afloat, disgraced Wall Street big Bernard Madoff demanded that friends and investors pump even more funds into his failing firm right up until the feds put the cuffs on him, The Post has learned.
Sources said that leading up to his shocking arrest on fraud charges, Madoff hit up good friend and business partner Robert Jaffe. He also asked for help from garmento Carl Shapiro, the first person to invest in Madoff's business and who's Jaffe's father-in-law.
Madoff's desperate, last-minute pleas for more money also extended to his hedge-fund investment partners, including Walter Noel's hedge-fund firm Fairfield Greenwich, a major Madoff promoter, sources told The Post.
Carey O'Donnell, a spokeswoman for the Jaffe-Shapiro family, was unable to confirm the amounts invested, but confirmed with The Post that the family "made an additional, significant investment" in recent weeks with Madoff's firm.
Madoff last Thursday was arrested after allegedly making the brazen confession that his investment-management business was a giant Ponzi scheme, triggering billions in losses. He is currently under house arrest.
In addition to being Madoff's buddy, Jaffe also was a promoter for Madoff, and was known in some circles as "the Recruiter" as part of his job running Cohmad Securities, a firm whose sole purpose was to market Madoff's investments.
It's unclear how much Jaffe and his wife, Ellen Shapiro Jaffe, invested with Madoff, but he's already under fire for his personal ties to the rogue investor.
According to some reports, Nine West founder Jerome Fisher, who is said to have lost $150 million as a result of Madoff's alleged misdeeds, exchanged heated words with Jaffe at a black-tie birthday party Saturday.
Meanwhile, the 95-year-old Shapiro has been reported to be among the biggest losers in the Madoff scandal given he has $400 million invested with Madoff, as well as $145 with his charitable foundation.
Madoff was also working with Fairfield Greenwich and other hedge-fund firms to raise money for a new batch of funds to attract more investors.
The new funds promised returns in the ballpark of 16 percent - higher than the existing Madoff funds - because they used more leverage than the 3-to-1 ratios that Madoff used in existing funds, one source said, adding that the plan was in the works as recently as Dec. 11 - the day Madoff was taken into custody by authorities.
One potential investor told The Post that Fairfield was telling investors on behalf of Madoff that they would be shut out of Madoff products in the future if they opted to withdraw from his existing funds or took a pass on participating in the new funds being set up.
[Hat Tip: JAG.]