The newsy bit of Fortune's big Madoff story is that Bernie's close cohort, Frank DiPascali, (who is described as a "ninja" for his shadowy presence) is naming names in a plea deal, and claiming none of Madoff's family members were involved. But the story includes a ton of interesting tidbits about Madoff's own weirdness and how he ran his huge Ponzi scheme:
The technology he used to keep the fraud going should've been in a museum:
The IBM server, for instance, an AS/400 that dated from the 1980s, was so old that some data had to be keyed in by hand, yet Madoff refused to replace it. The machine -- which has been autopsied by the government -- was the nerve center of the fraud. The thousands of pages of statements printed out from it showed trades that were never made.
Also, Bernie barely used e-mail and wanted company e-mail records stored on microfiche despite the huge cost. Plus, he looks a bit OCD:
Madoff was even more obsessed, if that's possible, with cleanliness. Even while he was responsible for billions of dollars, it was not uncommon to see him dusting his office or the two-foot sculpture of a screw behind his desk. One staffer recalls getting off the elevator to find Madoff, clad in one of his innumerable tailored suits, on his hands and knees in the lobby, straightening the rugs so that they were aligned perfectly.
That was Madoff's third fixation. Everything needed to be symmetrical and in straight lines. When Madoff was in the office, all window blinds had to be aligned at the same height, all computer screens had to be arrayed at the same angle and position, and on and on. So insistent was he on perfect alignment that, more than once, he dropped his trousers in the office -- startling female employees -- to ensure that the line of his shirt buttons was precisely vertical.
He may have come by his Ponzi cred honestly: The SEC investigated Madoff's mother in 1963 over a securities business his parents appear to have run out of their Long Island home.