By the mid-to-late 1960s, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities was making good money—from Bernie's take of the business being fed to him by his friends at Lieberbaum & Company, from positions he was personally holding and selling in over-the-counter and penny stocks that were possibly if not probably manipulated, and from fees and commissions related to the business he got from his growing private investment group that would eventually turn into his massive Ponzi operation.
Life was good at 39 Broadway, although Bernie was starting to act weird—and Bernie's world would become even more bizarre as time went on. His obsessive-compulsive tendency was beginning to manifest itself so that others who worked with him saw his odd behavior for the first time, such as when he personally began vacuuming the office floors on a daily basis, even though the building had a cleaning crew to do that every night.
Ruth, a mother of two, would stop in every so often from the Long Island suburbs to see how things were going, and she'd be there especially around the holidays to help Bernie dispense gifts. In exchange for probably getting stock tips and business from other brokerage houses, he was giving away bottles of expensive Chivas Regal scotch whiskey.
"At Christmastime the office was awash with cases of Chivas," says Bill Nasi, Bernie's longtime trusted messenger, who ...