Bernie Madoff and those who assisted him in maintaining the exotic Ponzi scheme were no slouches. That's what is coming out in the federal trial for five of them, at least according to the testimony of another of the workers Frank DiPascali, a co-operating witness. Here BLOOMBERG reports on that trial.
For example, DiPascali contended that when a client died they would backdate the account to show losses. That reduced the amount of the payout. When client Jacques Amsellem died but they hadn't been notifed for two months, then the group allegedly created a whole new account to record losses from short positions.
Clearly, the work they were doing involved more creativity - and perhaps more fun - than the routine stuff a legit operation would be calculating. They probably took enormous satisfaction of a job so well done that no one was nosing around to verify that things were on the up and up.
Lawyers for the defendants claim that since DiPascali faces up to 125 years in the joint he is testifying what he assumes the authorities want to hear.