This is a PSA, a Public Service Announcement
Nine years before Bernie Madoff’s multi-billion dollar ponzi scheme came crashing down in 2008 and he went to prison, there was a whistleblower, Harry Markopolos. Markopolos had repeatedly gone to authorities with evidence of Madoff’s crimes. Markopolos was ignored.
The people at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission who could have done something to stop the massive fraud did not. They failed to act until they had no choice but to act.
Meanwhile, Markopolos lived in fear of his life while trying to convince the world of Madoff’s crimes. Crimes which, ultimately, resulted in Madoff being sentenced to serve 150 years in Federal prison.
His 37,000 victims were private citizens, and public figures, including “director Steven Spielberg, actor Kevin Bacon, former New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon, Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Weisel.”
The mastermind of America’s biggest investment fraud died in prison on April 14, 2021.
Some whistleblowers are initially mocked and defamed. They may receive the “nuts and sluts” treatment from guilty men, misogynists, the women who enabled them, and/or the hypocrites.
Whistleblowers may be dismissed, demeaned, intimidated, silenced by officers of the court, and blacklisted. They may also suffer losses to their careers, or a combination thereof, for telling the truth, for not wanting to be complicit, or for not wanting to see anyone else harmed. Women who were right. Women who were telling the truth the entire time.
This we saw, for example, during some of the #MeToo cases, until mega, Oscar award-winning producer Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to serve 23 years in prison for rape and sexual abuse.
Thank you to all the good, honorable, ethical, decent men who helped along the way of which there are many.
So goes the Internet era of fake news, disinformation, and defamation. The real world and often tragic consequences were arguably preventable had people in positions of authority acted sooner.
"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." — Voltaire