Episode 035: Keith Kelly – Bernie Madoff, Ponzi Scheme


Retired agent Keith Kelly served with the FBI for twenty-seven years. Keith, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), worked a variety of assignments during his career, including being a member of the New York Division SWAT Team, extensive experience as an undercover agent, following the money trail of international drugs cases and other criminal enterprises involved in distribution and racketeering, and specializing in complex financial and money laundering investigations. In this episode of FBI Retired Case File Review, Keith Kelly reviews his most high-profiled assignment as the case-agent of the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme, a 21-person inter-agency investigation into the largest securities fraud case in history. This work resulted in the identification, seizure and forfeiture of more than $8 billion in assets along with the conviction of Bernard Madoff who received a 150-year jail sentence.

Special Agent (Retired)

Keith Kelly

11/13/1983 – 10/22/2010








During a recent interview about the FBI’s investigation of Bernard Madoff, Keith Kelly told ABC News investigative reporter Brian Ross that Madoff had planned to destroy some of the most damning evidence against him.  At the time of his arrest, Madoff already arranged for 50 boxes of documents to be taken to a warehouse where they were shredded.  Kelly said the case was so document-intensive, had he shredded more, “the case against him would’ve been very, very difficult,” resulting in much less serious criminal charges. The following are a video of that interview and other news stories featuring the Bernie Madoff case:

Exclusive: Bernie Madoff’s Secret Plan to Destroy the Ponzi Evidence (Video)

Accountant for Madoff Is Arrested and Charged With Securities Fraud

This image and the above head shot of Keith Kelly are screen shots from the ABC News interview on the Bernie Madoff case Keith did with investigative report Brian Ross.










Instead of carting the evidence away to a warehouse, the inter-agency investigation operated out of the Bernie Madoff office space. Here’s Keith working at the Madoff off-sight.










The number of agents assigned to the Bernie Madoff investigation quickly grew from two, to four, and finally 12 FBI fraud team members









Bernie Madoff mugshot.












Jerri Williams

View posts by Jerri Williams
Jerri Williams, a retired FBI agent, author and podcaster, jokes that she writes about the FBI to relive her glory days. After 26 years with the Bureau specializing in major economic fraud and corruption investigations, she calls on her professional encounters with scams and schemers to write police procedurals inspired by true crime FBI cases in her Philadelphia FBI Corruption Squad crime fiction series featuring flawed female FBI agent Kari Wheeler. Jerri’s FBI for Armchair Detectives nonfiction series enables readers to discover who the FBI is and what the FBI does by debunking misconceptions about the FBI in books, TV, and movies. Her books are available as ebooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks wherever books are sold. She’s also the host of FBI Retired Case File Review, a true crime podcast with more than 300 episodes available on all popular podcast apps and YouTube.


  1. […] Episode 035: Keith Kelly – Bernie Madoff, Ponzi Scheme […]

  2. D.L.B.September 12, 2021

    Hi Jerri!

    Thank you for this wonderful interview.
    Unfortunately, I can only listen to about a quarter of the interview (the entire interview doesn’t load).

    These early podcast episodes aren’t available in Google Podcasts service.

    By the way, not only have I been physically disabled from spinal injury 16 years ago, I’ve been recovering from a severe adverse reaction to my first covid vaccine shot– in the end, I’m stuck with full on Post Concussion Syndrome (the final stage of healing, photo fobia/ light sensitivity, of which I was finally recovering from three months before the shot). My point is, having to stay off my phone (now mandated until I heal, but I went online today, Sept 11, to finally post/ share a photo I took at Ground Zero–I was allowed to archive the area by the Military Police, as well as volunteering down there. Living through that day in Manhattan was hell; I had to do something to help. My photos are being donated to the 9/11 Museum)…

    I want to thank you for your wonderful and insightful podcast. You’re a natural at interviewing. And I enjoy so many of the interviews (I can’t listen to serial killer or child abuse though. I was glad to hear Joaquin “Jackie” [can’t recall his last name] refused to do child abuse cases. That was one of my questions for you: can you refuse certain details when you’re an agent? I’m you can. ).

    Thank you again for interesting interviews that are helping me get through these literally “dark” days. Even when my eyes heal, I’ll continue listening for sure.

    Kind Regards,

    1. D.L.B.September 12, 2021

      Oh… I forgot to ask, besides iTunes, is there any way I can hear this entire podcast regarding Bernie Madoff?

      Unbelievable what he did to everyone here could steal from, including old widows, his family, his friends… I’m no psychologist, but he seems like a sociopath to me. Wouldn’t you agree?

      1. Jerri WilliamsSeptember 14, 2021

        I don’t know how he was able to live with himself and all his lies. (Sent you a link to listen to the entire episode).

    2. Jerri WilliamsSeptember 14, 2021

      Sorry, I missed this message. The episode should play in full on all other podcast apps. Not sure what’s happening with iTunes/Apple Podcast. Try Spotify.


      1. D.L.B.September 17, 2021

        Thank you kindly for the link!

        I noticed that the the audio turned off after a specific amount of time, and finally realized I had to keep my phone “unlocked” … every time my phone locked, the podcast stopped.

        Problem solved.

        I so appreciate and enjoy this podcast.

        Thank you again for all of your hard work.
        I promise to send you one of my photos from 9/11 when I’m feeling a bit better.

        Have a fabulous day!


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