NEW YORK, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Authorities arrested legendary New York trader Bernard Madoff, alleging perhaps the biggest fraud scheme in U.S. history with losses estimated at $50 billion.
Madoff, released on a $10 million bond, allegedly told two senior staff members of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities that the company, which employs hundreds of traders, was "all just a big lie," The New York Times reported Friday.
Madoff allegedly said the firm was "basically, a giant Ponzi scheme," in which investors' money -- rather than legitimate returns on investments -- were used to pay dividends.
For years the company, which was founded in 1960, advertised suspiciously high returns on funds, even when the stock market was swinging up and down, the Times said.
"The numbers were too good to be true, for too long," said Girish Reddy, a managing director at Prisma Partners. "And the supporting infrastructure was weak."
Securities and Exchange Commission Associate Director for Enforcement Andrew Calamari said the regulator had assigned 16 examiners to go through the company's books.
The case involved "a stunning fraud that appears to be of epic proportions," Calamari told the Times.