That was nearly a half-century ago. Today, investors with Madoff's firm are drowning after the former Nasdaq chairman admitted fleecing his customers of $50 billion.
Madoff, 70, was known as a quirky figure inside his company offices at Manhattan's Lipstick Building. Still, he was respected for his uncanny - and apparently illegal - ability to generate cash for his clients.
The Hennessee Group, which tracks investment performance, says Madoff's firm suffered just five down months in 13 years between 1993-2007.
"He was God to people," said Charles Gradante, one of Hennessee's co-founders.
The self-made Wall Street heavyweight recruited many of his clients at New York and Florida country clubs, including the Palm Beach Country Club.
The school announced Friday Madoff had cut all ties with Yeshiva, resigning as a member of its board of trustees.
While other brokerage firms were bought out by larger operations, Madoff Investment Securities LLC remained a family business - right to the end.
His sons, Andrew and Mark, turned Madoff in Wednesday night after the father confessed his economic sins, said Martin Flumbenbaum, the brothers' lawyer.