Followers of a mystical religion were taken in by Madoff scheme
There’s another religious group that was taken in by Bernard Madoff, one that’s less well known than the Jewish community he so widely infiltrated: the Sufis.
A number of Sufis, who practice a mystical form of Islam, and Sufi groups on both US coasts entrusted millions of dollars to a California lawyer, Richard M. Glantz, who is a member of the Sufi community. He in turn placed their money with Madoff. The connection: Glantz, raised in a Jewish family, is the son of a New York accountant who had placed $88 million in client funds with Madoff.
For members of the Sufi community, the Madoff news came as a particular blow. A group whose traditions include embracing all religions, woodsy retreats, and meditative dancing, Sufis may have been overly trusting of Madoff, they now say, and unsophisticated about investing.
Alima Lucinski, executive director of the Sufi Order International, North America, said Glantz assured the organization as recently as last September – when the stock market was in a deep dive – that it was on track to make money because Madoff had its investments in US Treasuries.
Lucinski said she believes a greater number of religious groups and nonprofits were affected by Madoff than is known, because some are not required to reveal their finances and are also reluctant to do so voluntarily. “It’s not something people want to come out and say,” she said.