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ballsy crimes

Today in Madoff

That one ring on Anne Hathaway's finger could probably pay off half of these debts. Unfortunately, she's now out of the picture.

If you think Bernard Madoff's massive fraud doesn't affect you, we urge you to think again. When all is said and done, we're beginning to feel there is no one in America, if not the world, that will not have had something taken away by this guy. The who's who of victims is too long and too important and too varied. Even if your own investments aren't affected (or you don't have any), or you aren't the sort to attend holiday parties where conversation consists of "That guy lost $10 million, and that guy lost so many millions," you will probably still feel it. Maybe it's as small as noticing that the animation in future DreamWorks pictures isn't as good as it used to be now that Katzenberg lost his shirt. Maybe your dentist will start skimping on Novacaine now that his grandmother's savings are gone. Maybe someone you know will move to Honduras now that there are no nonprofit jobs in New York. The point is: It's like Madoff peed in a public pool, one we were all swimming in. Anyway, without further ado, a roundup of news about what's looking like the biggest Ponzi scheme of ever is after the jump.

• The SEC has some explaining to do. Only they don't seem to quite grasp that yet. "At this point, I don't see any evidence that the SEC dropped the ball," Arthur Levitt, the Security and Exchange Commission's chair from 1993 to 2001, told the New York Post. But … what about the fact that they ignored analysts' warnings for years, including a series of letters from a Boston account that alleged Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme as long ago as 1999? Yeah, that's awkward. [NYP, WP]

• Madoff’s sons, Andrew and Mark, have been cleared of any wrongdoing, as has their uncle, Peter Madoff. This is kind of heartbreaking: Andrew and Mark, who were the ones who turned their father in, aren't allowed to talk to their father or uncle "because they are considered witnesses in the case and must avoid pretrial discussions that might touch on their experiences." [NYT]

• This could have severe consequences for animated films. Not only did Steven Spielberg's Wunderkinder Foundation take a hit, but DreamWorks' Jeffrey Katzenberg has reportedly lost "millions." [WSJ]

• Jewish charities, which have taken massive hits, are farklempt: "It's like finding out your brother is a murderer," said Gary Tobin, the president of the Institute for Jewish and Community Research. [WSJ]

• Some Madoff investors may, may be able to get refunds back from the IRS. But probably not. And the investors who took Madoff money out may have to give some up to offset the losses of other investors. What a mess. [NYT, WSJ]

• Cats: The littlest victims. [Big Money]

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Photo: Ruby Washington/New York Times/Redux