What Has Happened to Michael Bienes?
Frank Avellino and Michael Bienes nearly fifty years ago started working at the accounting firm run by Ruth Madoff's father, Saul Alpern. Sometime around that time, they and Saul Alpern began referring clients, friends and associates to Bernie Madoff's fledging securities firm. Along the way, they formed a successor firm to the Alpern firm and then began to primarily focus on fund raising in their guaranteed notes that were in turn invested with Bernie Madoff through their firm Avellino & Bienes.
In late 1992, the Securities and Exchange Commission sued these two accountants and two others, Steven Mendelow and Edward Glantz (and his son Richard), together with their respective firms for selling unregistered notes. As a result, they disbanded their investment vehicles and supposedly returned all funds to their investors. Apparently, though, a significant number of investors then turned over their returned assets directly to Bernie Madoff where accounts at Bernard Madoff Investment Securities were opened in their names.
According to investors who have come forward after the Madoff scheme was exposed, Frank Avellino, Michael Bienes, Steven Mendelow and Richard Glantz never completely ceased raising additional funds for Bernie Madoff. While the vehicles and mechanisms they used subsequent to the SEC lawsuits are less well documented, each apparently continued to direct investors to Madoff.
Shortly after the Madoff arrest was disclosed, Michael Bienes suddenly resigned from the Board of Directors of the prestigious Broward Center for the Performing Arts in a short one sentence letter. As Bob Norman of the Broward-Palm Beach New Times writes, "Since the scheme collapsed, he and wife Dianne have dropped out of Fort Lauderdale life and, sources say, emptied their Bay Colony estate of their possessions."
Toomre Capital Markets LLC ("TCM") notes the venom that some commentators have directed at Michael Bienes and his wife both on this website and others. Such commentators have suggested that this couple are swine (or even worse) as they held grand parties for both associates and prospects in a perpetual fund raising effort. TCM has no idea whether these rather more venomous allegations are true. However, like many others, TCM does wonder just where Michael and Dianne Bienes have moved on to? London perhaps where they were said to frequent in recent years? Or some other location where they can low, hopefully avoiding the wrath of investors and prosecutors? TCM suspects that there will be many more details that emerge about the role that Frank Avellino and Michael Bienes played in the Bernie Madoff scandal.