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Braman caught up in Ponzi scheme

As Jrsyeagle mentioned in yesterday's comments, Norman Braman caught in the web of one of the biggest investment frauds in recent memory.

Bernard L. Madoff -- a prominent Wall Street investment advisor arrested Thursday after allegedly revealing his firm was ''basically a giant Ponzi scheme'' that hid billions of dollars in losses from investors -- drew many wealthy investors from Palm Beach to Miami.

His wife, Ruth Madoff, owns a $9.4 million Palm Beach home, a five-bedroom, seven-bath property that once belonged to Herbert and Hilary Pulitzer. And Madoff was well known at the Palm Beach Country Club and other country clubs in South Florida, according to an attorney familiar with the matter.


Norman Braman, CEO of Braman Motors, which has operations in Miami, Palm Beach and Denver, said Friday he is one of the investors. ''He had a very stellar reputation,'' Braman told The Miami Herald. ``I read this morning about Arthur Levitt, former head of the SEC, praising him. That's how you select people -- by reputation.''

I mean, c'mon, what kind of car dealer worth his salt gets taken in on a scam of putting money into something that is worthless.  Really, isn't that what his business model as a car dealer is based on?  (Note: you may have had better luck with buying cars than I have had.)

In case you don't know what a Ponzi scheme is:  you promise way above market rates of returns to investors and you take their money and invest in nothing. What you do is pay old investors with the new investors money.  The scheme will fail someday, when new investors can't be found to payoff the old investors.  But in the meantime the creator of the scheme, pockets a lot of dough.  (Transactions fees)

A Ponzi scheme is normally pretty easy to recognize by those in charge of regulating markets, assuming any market regulation is going on.

All I will say in Braman's case is that the karma train always comes around.