Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Bernie Madoff's bid for sympathy

H/T Burning Our Money who adds an interesting angle to the story.

It's been a while since Bernie Madoff made an appearance here, but, if you were wondering what he's been up to recently, the New York Magazine has obligingly published a long feature describing his current life behind bars.

Attributed celebrity status among inmates - thanks to repeated TV appearances and the vast scale of his crimes - and even asked by them for investment advice (so far beyond irony there isn't a word for it), his moral standards seem to fit right in.

'One day, Shannon Hay, a drug dealer who lived in the same unit in Butner as Madoff, asked about his crimes. “He told me his side. He took money off of people who were rich and greedy and wanted more,” says Hay, who was released in December. People, in other words, who deserved it.'

Another convict describes him as "A hero. He's arguably the greatest con of all time". Madoff himself maintains that he was constantly besieged by people throwing money at him, insisting he invest it on their behalf. He found the stress of his situation hard to bear; "It was a nightmare for me", he told investigators.

Madoff has obviously mastered that first essential for the modern criminal - victimhood. It's always someone else's fault. Just think - had all those elderly would-be investors not run after him in East Coast country clubs and restaurants, cheque books at the ready, he might be a free man today. Or to put it his way:

“F--- my victims. I carried them for twenty years, and now I’m doing 150 years.”

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