News & Politics

Madoff Lawyer Has Valuable Experience with Madoff-Involved Crooks


The glossies interview movie stars and scene-makers, but the New York Law Journal interviews Bernie Madoff’s lawyer. As you might expect, though, counselor Ira Lee Sorkin doesn’t say much. But his history with Madoff is interesting: After meeting the swindler in the 1980s, the former SEC prosecutor, who had then moved on to negotiating for clients in trouble with the SEC, found himself working a case in which defendant Frank Avellino and his accountant invested $441 million they’d gotten from 3,200 clients with Madoff in what appears to have been an early phase of his famous Ponzi scheme.

The SEC made Avellino give the money back and pay a fine, but Madoff himself seems to have escaped their interest. As to what Sorkin thought, or knew, about Madoff, we guess we’ll never know; client-attorney privilege and all that.

Also, though Sorkin’s name was on the recently-revealed list of Madoff’s victims, he explains that was just a retirement account for his mother, which he handled for her in her last years and closed out when she died in 2007.

Sorkin’s legal colleagues praise the great job Sorkin’s doing for the fraudster. ” “[He] deserves a pat on the back for keeping Mr. Madoff out of jail,” says one. And Sorkin says despite his client’s screwing of Jewish philanthropies, he himself “has received no criticism from members of his temple.”



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