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The Wacky Hero Of The Madoff Scandal

If you didn't catch TV clips or a write-up of Harry Markopolos, the dorky derivatives whiz who saw through Bernie Madoff's scheme, testifying before Congress yesterday, read Dana Milbank's sketch of the hearing here. Representatives on Paul Kanjorski's capital markets subcommittee had been warned that Markopolos was "frail" and "nervous" and were told to go easy on him, but that couldn't have been more hilariously far from the truth. He was right out of Dragnet. A couple highlights:

When he spoke, it was in the vocabulary of a man who had watched a lot of detective movies.  He offered to wear "a disguise, as I was trained to in the Army," and do undercover work for the Securities and Exchange Commission "and have no one know where I was, except my wife, and I would have no contact with my family during this time."

Why the cloak and dagger? Some of Madoff's money "came from the Russian mob and the Latin American drug cartels," Markopolos explained. "If he would have known my name and he knew that we had a team tracking him, I didn't think I was long for this world."...

Markopolos said he remains blacklisted in the financial industry. "I've crossed the Rubicon," he said. "I can never go back."

Photo: Getty Images

--Eve Fairbanks