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HomeNewsArchivesMadoff Financial Scandal Hits Local Catholic Diocese

Madoff Financial Scandal Hits Local Catholic Diocese

Dec. 21, 2008 — In a letter read Sunday at all V.I. Catholic churches, St. Thomas Bishop Herbert Bevard informed parishioners that local church funds were invested in highly rated funds controlled by Bernard Madoff, whose financial empire was recently discovered to be a giant Ponzi scheme.
The revelation means the diocese is in the same boat with thousands of Madoff investors around the world who have lost upwards of $50 billion from Madoff's fraud. No official spokesperson for the diocese could be reached Sunday afternoon, but Deacon David Caprioli of Christiansted’s Holy Cross Catholic Church confirmed the broad details of Bevard's announcement.
"I can't quote what was said right now, but I can tell you in general outline," Caprioli said. "The letter from the bishop was letting us know it happened and to assure us very clearly there was no fault on the part of the diocese. We are one of the many victims of Madoff's New York investment firm. They had very high ratings, and there was no reason to doubt their solidity."
Bevard told parishioners the church is doing its best, trying to see what it can do to overcome this obstacle, Caprioli said.
Until Dec. 11, Madoff — a former chairman of the NASDAQ stock market — was a highly respected securities investor. On Dec. 10, Madoff told senior executives at his firm that a big part of his business was "basically a giant Ponzi scheme," in which older investors were paid with revenues from newer investors, rather than from actual capital investments. Charities, hospitals and study centers have all suffered a financial blow by the loss of their investments through Madoff.
Details were not immediately available about the nature of the investments, the size of the loss and the schools and organizations affected.
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