I have never met Madoff, but I have met men of his physical and psychological type: smallish, unathletic in build, wearing expensive yet unflashy clothes, nothing dazzling about them. They manage to seem substantial in an unthreatening, even avuncular way. They appear to be in possession of a deep secret: they have gotten in on the ground floor, they know how the game is played; should they choose, they could put you on to a few good things. They have deciphered the magic of money; they feel no need to brag about it, but clearly they have everything under control. Except, of course, they don't, not really, because one of the things we have learned from the recent economic meltdown is that nobody does...
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