“The whole government is a Ponzi scheme”: Madoff

Man behind world’s biggest Ponzi scheme tells his side of the story


“Bernard L. Madoff is in therapy,” starts a feature in the latest issue of New York magazine. What follows are the revelations writer Steve Fishman captured from Bernie Madoff himself, in a series of phone calls he shared with the 72-year-old inmate. Strapped with a 150-year prison sentence for committing a $65 billion Ponzi scheme—the biggest act of financial fraud in history—Madoff recounts the rationalizations that led to his demise. One of his most startling comments seemed to imply it was his clients’ fault for trusting him. “Look, these banks and these funds had to know there were problems,” he said. “I wouldn’t give them any facts, like how much volume I was doing. I was not willing to have them come up and do the due diligence that they wanted. I absolutely refused to do it. I said, ‘You don’t like it, take your money out,’ which of course they never did.” And besides, he also says, his clients were rich: “Look, none of my clients, even if they lost every penny they put in there, can plead poverty,” he said. “Look, it doesn’t mean I’m excusing what I did, doesn’t mean I don’t feel sorry for them. I’m embarrassed … It was the people that came in very late in the game that got hurt.”

New York magazine

The Atlantic

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“The whole government is a Ponzi scheme”: Madoff

  1. Why even give this guy a voice? One of his children has committed suicide and although he denies that he is excusing his behavior, he is by making comments like "look, even if [my clients] lost every penny they put [in my ponzi scheme, none of them] can plead poverty". He really is a despicable human being.

  2. I agree he is despicable, and a lot more financial geniuses should be right beside him in prison.

  3. Classic lines from a sociopath – even when they screw you over, it's your fault.

    "Never accept blame no matter what you do or how damning the evidence is," the sociopath motto.

  4. No one can identify a crook like another crook. Madoff is right, but it seems there are just too many people out there who like to think 'I can't criticize the rich…I might get to be one of them someday.' Dream on. Three yeras later and not one banking executive has even been interviewed in relation to laying charges. It's called Feudal Capitalism, and the US is in its grips.

  5. The headine is rather misleading; I expected further elucidation on that comment and – in the sumary at least – nada.

  6. The winners of the 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary are Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs for "Inside Job". The documentary centered on the behind the scenes antics of the corporate and banking elites which caused this recession. Upon accepting his Oscar, Ferguson said: “Three years after a horrific financial crisis caused by massive fraud, not a single financial executive has gone to jail and that's wrong.” In that sense, Bernie Madoff was a kind of "consolation prize," by falling on his own sword by fessing up to three decades of financial sleight of hand.

  7. Madoff is of course correct on his comment about government. Our governments have been spending now with future taxes left to pay the bill for decades. They get away with it by diminishing the value of our currency, which is really an IOU from the government that you cannot collect. Look at the value of the Canadian dollar against any Asian currency 50 years ago versus today. That is the "ponzi" scheme the government plays.

  8. Unfortunately, as vile as this man is, he is right. Government providing Cadillac salaries, benefits and pensions at the expense of a bled-to-death private sector will indeed come to an end one day. The 'host' is being bled to death to satisfy the parasites. It can't and won't last. Neither did Madoff.

    • Uh, it's private sector special interests that are lobbying for preferential treatment from government insiders who are in their pocket. You're condemning all of government, and everything it does, because of public sector worker pensions? Stop watching Fox News…the US has turned into a Feudal Capitalist society, where if you have the bucks you can be excused from the rules. And Mr. Harper is just aching to import this Republican anti-conservativism here.

      • It ain't FopxNews, it is a lifetime to watching parasites stay awake nights figuring out how to take more of my salary. Perhaps you should watch FoxNews, but I guess if you are a benefactor of the economic rape of the private sector you really have no interest in the truth Yes, there are certain sectors of the corporate world just as culpable but the vast majority of the damage is government whether you want to admit it or not. As long as the media can continue to blame capitalism the maggots on the left can keep on raping the poor slobs in the private sector who are over-taxed and over=governed. You are sure gonna hate FoxNews NOrth when it shows up. The truth sometimes isn't pleasant.

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