Update: This is now big news, of course. For an interesting read of someone who has been pursuing this fraud since 1999 see The World's Largest Hedge Fund is a Fraud by Harry Markopolos. h/t nakedshorts.
Seems like shades of Richard Whitney at the NYSE in the 30's.
With no brother to eventually pay out restitution, I'm guessing though.
As you may have heard, Madoff is now under house arrest, and has been obliged to sign over some assets (eg, property in the Hamptons). As a lawyer remarked earlier this week, "$50 billion didn't just go up in smoke." Then again, the value of a lot of CDOs pretty much went up in smoke--considerably more than $50 billion worth, as a matter of fact.