Madoff Scandal: A Good Example of How Records Become Public Indirectly

Client lists, client contact information and how much a person owes their creditors are typically held privately. The bankruptcy case related to Bernard Madoff's firm, however, provides a good example of how once private records become public in bankruptcy proceedings. In the Madoff matter, a list of his former investors was released via the federal court case management system (known as PACER for Public Access to Court Electronic Records) last week. The list, made available by The Wall Street Journal here, consists of 163 pages of names and addresses for the thousands of people that Madoff is accused of defrauding. The Wall Street Journal adds detail to some of the bigger investors on the list here. This same process of files getting "backed-in" to the public record happens in bankruptcy and other courts throughout the nation. Another example: when individual and corporate tax returns are made public in United States Tax Court. For more on how to search United State Tax Court dockets and Tax Court jurisdiction, check here.