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Psychopath

The Talented Mr. Madoff

Bernie MadoffIn the event that the visitor to this website has not already done so, Toomre Capital Markets LLC ("TCM") strongly encourages one to read the Sunday January 25th 2009 New York Times article entitled The Talented Mr. Madoff. This article has a good review of just who Bernard L. Madoff is. Included in that article is the suggestion by Gregg O. McCrary, a former special agent with the FBI who spent years constructing criminal behavior profiles, that Bernie shares many of the destructive personality traits typically seen in a psychopath.

Apparently this is partly why so many who came in contact with Bernie have been left reeling and in confusion about his motives. “People like him become sort of like chameleons. They are very good at impression management,” Mr. McCrary says. “They manage the impression you receive of them. They know what people want, and they give it to them.”

The article also includes a reference to J. Reid Meloy, a forensic psychologist, who indicated that Bernie Madoff reminds him of other criminals he has studied. “Typically, people with psychopathic personalities don’t fear getting caught,” explains Dr. Meloy, author of a 1988 textbook, The Psychopathic Mind. “They tend to be very narcissistic with a strong sense of entitlement.”

This NYT article concludes with the thought "All of which has led some forensic psychologists to see some similarities between him and serial killers like Ted Bundy. They say that whereas Mr. Bundy murdered people, Mr. Madoff murdered wallets, bank accounts and people’s sense of financial trust and security. Like Mr. Bundy, Mr. Madoff used a sharp mind and an affable demeanor to create a persona that didn’t exist, according to this view, and lulled his victims into a false sense of security. And when publicly accused, he seemed to show no remorse.

“They believe ‘I’m above the law,’ and they believe they cannot be caught,” Mr. Meloy says. “But the Achilles’ heel of the psychopath is his sense of impunity. That is, eventually, what will bring him down.” He says it makes complete sense that Mr. Madoff would have courted regulators, even if he ran the risk of exposing his own actions by doing so. “In a scheme like this, it’s very important to keep those who could threaten you very close to you,” Dr. Meloy explains. “You want to develop them as allies and shape how they go about their business and their attitudes toward you.”