Brandon Hernández 9 a.m., March 10
List of Madoff Investors Now Public. Some San Diegans Tell Their Tales of Woe
Names of thousands of apparent customers in Bernie Madoff's alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme were filed in Manhattan Bankruptcy Court yesterday (Wed. Feb. 4). The amounts of money they had invested in the scheme were not revealed. The Reader's Matt Potter culled the list for San Diego County investors. I was able to get to six of them this afternoon. The list includes Robert J. Mintz of New Balance Investments LLC at a Del Mar address -- the same one his office occupied eight years ago. His Asset Protection Law Center is now in Fallbrook. Mintz is an expert in offshore banking, among other things. "I wasn't an investor with Madoff and if it's a client matter I'm not able to comment," he says. He doesn't know why his name would be on the list. "I do not have and never had a company by the name of New Balance Investments LLC. It is not and never has been an entity associated with me or my firm."
Lawrence and Leona Krevat of Rancho Santa Fe are on the list. He died a year ago. "My husband was invested with (Madoff) from the day he started," says Leona Krevat. "We did not know him personally. We knew a lawyer who knew him and he advised us to get connected with Madoff." They took some of the Madoff money out of their IRA account when her husband reached 70 and a half, as is required by law, "but we still have enough to be significant. I am heartsick over the whole thing. He would send us statements. When the stock market started to recede, we were very happy we were making 10 percent." She has hired a lawyer to try to get money back.
"I knew Bernie well," says Martin Fisher of San Diego, who had a trust with Madoff along with his wife Beatrice. "I trusted him. We're from New York. I talked with him several times [about the account there.] I never did get suspicious. I didn't know the technique he was using. It was a big blow." He has hired an attorney. "The attorneys will get all the money and the people will get little. That is a crime."
Ernest Abbit and Nadine Lange had money in through a living trust. "I pulled it out about three years ago," says Abbit. He has not been asked to return the funds, as some have. "I got in through the father of my daughter-in-law." He did know Madoff. "I was shocked and somewhat relieved that I did what I did."
William Gershen of Rancho Santa Fe, president of Vanguard Industries, is in with a revocable trust with his wife, Debra. "My attorney has instructed me not to make any comment," says Gershen. An unidentified source close to Gershen says that he did not have that much money in the pot.
Bobbi Cohen and Eugene Smith are on the list. She is a prominent fundraiser for San Diego Project Heart Beat. "I don't mean to be rude, but I am not interested in giving any information about my connection to Bernie Madoff," she says.
Others on the list: Murli and Rani Hathiramani; Morris Felder living trust; Gerald J. Block of Rancho Santa Fe; Patricia F. Slattery of Oceanside; Robert and Sherry McKenzie of Encinitas; Sylvia Cohen of Encinitas; Sylvia F. Wernick revocable trust; John Todd Figi revocable trust; Timothy and Valerie Teufel, Poway; Peter Copen charitable trust, Carlsbad; Dewitt Drury iter vivos trust, Vista; Irving Pinto, Del Mar; James Sleeper, Solana Beach, and Janice Nadler, Carlsbad.