Just when you thought it was safe to go back to investing and saving money, the Ghost of Christmas Past is haunting us again. Bernie Madoff, please take center stage.
Yahoo! News, in conjunction with ABC’s “Good Morning America”, have reported that Madoff is speaking out about his new life in prison. In case you forgot, Madoff was convicted on a laundry list of charges from investment adviser fraud, mail fraud and wire fraud to money laundering and perjury. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison after being found guilty of these crimes in a large-scale Ponzi scheme, and will most likely die there due to his advanced age.
Madoff has stated that he feels badly about letting his family down, and admits that he deserved to go to jail. He bemoans the fact that the wife of his late son Mark Madoff would sooner spit on him than look at him again. He also speaks of his estranged wife and the rest of the Madoff clan looking down upon him.
He even goes as far to say that he understands the hatred of clients toward him. According to Madoff in the Yahoo! News/Good Morning America report: “The gravy train is over. I can live with that.”
However, in the very next breath this statement comes out of his mouth: “The average person thinks I robbed widows and orphans,” he added. “I made wealthy people wealthier.”
Oops. For a minute there, I thought he was actually sorry. I almost pitied him when he spoke of his thoughts of suicide in prison.
Making wealthy people wealthier through fraudlent methods is stealing, no matter how you label it. Maybe it wasn’t widows and orphans. But, it was middle class people who invested in his programs to have a retirement fund. One couple in their golden years was stranded in an RV in Arizona because they lost all the money they saved up to tour the country after they sold their primary residence.
It was also non-profit organizations that invested in his schemes that lost as well. Since he was so efficient at his fraud, Standard and Poor’s gave him a high investment rating, which these organizations would use to justify their investments in the course of due dilligence.
In fact, the entire scheme was estimated to be woth $60 million. However, when they arrested him, they found that he had very little in his own real assets. On the other hand, his wife had several million dollars to her name in various accounts that couldn’t be touched because she wasn’t under investigtation, or found guilty of any crimes related to the scheme.
The question at this time is “So, if Bernie was running this multi-million dollar scheme, where did his wife get all of that money from?” The answer seems fairly clear. It was put there by Bernie Madoff during the course of his many money laudering schemes. Since it couldn’t be proven that it was part of his Ponzi scheme or ill-gotten gains, she got to keep it.
Bernie Madoff is merely sorry that he got caught. He is sorry he didn’t think of the potential consequences of his actions ahead of time. He is certainly sorry that his family name has been dragged through the mud because of his own greed.
But, it is apparent that he is not sorry he set up the Ponzi scheme and “made wealthy people wealthier.” He is not sorry that non-profit organizations, retirees, and families are still reeling from the effects of the collapse of his scheme. He is certainly not sorry that he made provisions for his wife ahead of time that can neither be confirmed nor denied.
Cry your eyes out, Mr. Madoff, society has no pity for you. You are a common theif that used uncommon methods to increase your own wealth and power. I’m sure some people got rich from your scheme, but many, many more (probably about 99%) got burned while your friends got rich.