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Suicidal 'Mini-Madoff' Lost Hundreds of Millions

Wednesday, 21 Jan 2009 12:45 PM

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MIAMI — In a suicide note left for his family, missing Florida fund manager Arthur Nadel expressed guilt for losing clients' money and felt someone might try to kill him, according to police documents released Wednesday.

The family of the 76-year-old head of a Sarasota fund management company reported him missing a week ago. Two days later. investors began complaining to police that possibly hundreds of millions of dollars were missing from the funds he ran.

Nadel left a note for his wife, Peg, in a desk drawer at his home "indicating he was going to kill himself," a Sarasota County sheriff's deputy wrote in a report.

But authorities said they have tracked calls from Nadel's cell phone to New Orleans and Slidell, La., and Mobile, Ala., that were made last week after his disappearance.

In the note, Nadel expressed "the extreme guilt he was feeling over business actions that he had taken which resulted in the (loss) of other peoples money," the report said.

"The subject (Nadel) wrote that as a result of his management of other people's money that there are those that would like to kill him, but that he will do it himself," it said.

With the financial fraud investigation in its early stage, there were no warrants for his arrest.

Nadel's disappearance came little more than a month after authorities arrested New York money manager Bernard Madoff, who is accused of running a $50 billion Ponzi scheme.

Local media have called the Nadel case a "mini-Madoff" escapade. Madoff recruited many of his investors through social circles in ultra-rich Palm Beach on Florida's east coast, while Nadel was a well-known philanthropist in Sarasota, a Florida west coast city that is home to many wealthy retirees.

The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office said it had closed its missing persons investigation because Nadel had disappeared voluntarily. The FBI has taken over.

"We felt there was no foul play involved," sheriff's spokesman Lt. Chuck Lesaltato said. "We just closed it out."

The Sarasota Police Department has said that hundreds of millions of dollars may be missing from Nadel's Scoop Management. Published reports have put the figure at up to $350 million.

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