Madoff Scam Soaks Jewish Charities

His Wall Street fraud will wipe out philanthropic groups
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 13, 2008 12:08 PM CST
Bernard L. Madoff, chairman of Madoff Investment Securities is seen on his Manhattan trading floor in this photo taken Dec. 30, 1999, in New York.   (AP Photo/The New York Times)
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(Newser) – Rich investors and hedge funds aren’t the only ones losing their shirts in Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. Madoff was a giant in the small world of Jewish philanthropy, running millions for a variety of charitable organizations, the Washington Post reports. Deborah Coltin, for example, woke up yesterday to discover that the $8 million family foundation she’d run for a decade—and which had invested its endowment with Madoff—had just gone poof.

Madoff’s own $19 million foundation also was wiped out, while a Long Island Jewish Health program lost $5 million, and a Texas-based foundation that gave to Jewish causes lost $6 million. “I laid off five people today,” said a shell-shocked Coltin, whose group dispensed about $1.5 million a year to Massachusetts Jewish groups. “Our foundation was the lifeblood of this community. It’s just very, very sad.”