Tuesday, 30 June 2009
They branded him “the beast”, “animal”,“an evil lowlife”.
To this, Bernie (Bernard) Madoff, the convicted cheat said:
"I have left a legacy of shame, as some of my victims have pointed out, to my family and my grandchildren. This is something I will live in for the rest of my life. I'm sorry. I know that doesn't help you.”
Madoff was convicted of operating a Pyramid (or Ponzi, as in the equally infamous Charles Ponzi’s) Scheme whereby he paid so-called “dividend” to previous investor from the wallets of the next.
His scheme – and victims - grew as word of mouth of incredible earnings passed on.
This is definitely not a small money scheme, with “exclusivity” thrown in good measure to make it even more enticing.
The scheme ran for years at ends and nobody complained when the money flowed into their pockets.
Few cared enough to “question” the source of such fantastic dividends. Surely alarm bells should have rang somewhere.
No, it took the global financial tumble when hedge funds and banks (who carried the deposits of the ordinary folks who could only dream of fantastic dividends) took an equal fumble and lost billions in their assets’ value.
News reports on his sentencing spoke of his victims scavenging for food in dumpsters, now dependent on food stamps, losing entire savings for several generations of families, with mortgages unpaid, elderly victims unable to pay for medical coverage.
Victim robbed of savings earmarked for the care of his mentally disabled brother.
My, my. Madoff was truly the Devil Incarnate.
For his extraordinarily evil (Judge’s words) misdeeds, the former lifeguard and sprinkler installer was sentenced to 150 years in prison.
How very American. All hype, all glitzy. You could almost make a best selling movie from this.
We, too, have our fair share of schemes here with the most fantastic of promises.
You’re most welcome to believe them.
A Madoff quote struck me: “The harder I tried, the deeper a hole I dug for myself.”
He dug his own hole so deep he knew he could never get out off.
His investors, meanwhile, followed like lemmings.
Verily the evil.