Bintel Blog

Madoff: The Most Unpopular Prisoner

By Rebecca Dube

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If Bernard Madoff thought that jail would at least provide a break from confronting angry mobs of people, he may be in for (another) rude awakening.

Sure, the Ponzi scheme architect, who pleaded guilty Thursday morning to all 11 charges against him, will escape the paparazzi that swarmed his Upper East Side penthouse. But experts say Madoff’s reputation will precede him to the slammer, where he was sent yesterday after Judge Denny Chin revoked his bail.

And it’s not a good time to have a name that’s synonymous with financial chicanery.

“Madoff isn’t going to be real popular,” Larry Levine told Bloomberg News. Levine served 10 years in federal prisons for securities fraud and narcotics trafficking, and now advises convicts on surviving time behind bars. “All the guys there will have wives or parents who are losing their homes or their jobs or who can’t send money to them anymore. Everybody’s going to be blaming Bernie.”

And much like his victims and prosecutors, Madoff’s fellow inmates will want to know where all that money went.

“There will be people trying to scam him and people who think he’s hiding money,” Park Dietz, a forensic psychiatrist at the David Geffen School of Medicine of University of California at Los Angeles, told Bloomberg. “There will be inmates asking for money, and you don’t want them to disbelieve you when you say you don’t have it.” Madoff addressed the court before his guilty plea was accepted, saying, in part: “I am actually grateful for this opportunity to publicly comment about my crimes, for which I am deeply sorry and ashamed… As the years went by, I realized my risk, and this day would inevitably come. I cannot adequately express how sorry I am for my crimes.”

According to CNBC, Madoff did not look at any of his three former investors who testified at the hearing. Courtroom observers broke into applause when the judge ordered Madoff to jail.


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