At the time of Madoff’s affectless and by-the-numbers confession in March 2009, I said that the just punishment for crimes as vast as his, the just penalty for deliberately over a period of twenty years and through the coldest and most complicated deception wrecking the lives of hundreds of people with whom he had a fiduciary relationship (by which I didn’t mean the punishment designated by the New York State Penal Code, but the just punishment), was death. I repeat that now.
Brazen bum Bernie
by Maureen Callahan, June 6, 2010
Bernie Madoff has a message from prison: F- - - you.
Madoff, 71, has become a folk hero to most of his fellow inmates — but when one inmate lashed out at the disgraced Ponzi schemer for his $65 billion theft, Madoff barked: “F—- my victims. I carried them for 20 years, and now I’m doing 150 years,” New York magazine reports in its issue on sale tomorrow.
When another convict told Madoff that stealing from old ladies was “kind of f—-ed up,” Madoff coolly replied, “Well, that’s what I did.”
Another former convict told the magazine that Madoff once said he could spin a globe, put his finger anywhere on it, “and chances are he had a house there or he’d been there.”
Yet another prisoner recalled watching a “60 Minutes” segment about Madoff with Madoff, and remarking, admiringly, that he’d bilked his clients for millions.
Madoff corrected him: “No, billions.”
His massive scheme has some inmates virtually worshipping him as a criminal legend who ultimately wound up a success, according to their twisted worldview.
“If I’d lived that well for 70 years, I wouldn’t care that I ended up in prison,” one said.
He has since made 14 cents an hour sweeping the commissary floor of the federal pen in Butner, NC.
Colleagues, lawyers and inmates tell the magazine that Inmate No. 61727-054 generally seems content. His cellblock is known as “Camp Fluffy,” and prisoners have use of a gym, library, pool tables and a sweat lodge. There are no bars on the windows.
Madoff likes to read novels by John Grisham and Dean Koontz, and once suggested he be put in charge of the budget for the prison landscaping crew, reminding one supervisor that he had run Nasdaq.
The response: “Hell, no.”
Inmates ask him for autographs, which he refuses to sign because he thinks they’ll wind up on eBay, and he doesn’t think it’s fair that others should make money off him.
Madoff thinks nothing of telling his fellow inmates that he regularly dropped as much as $200,000 on a wristwatch. In turn, drug dealers and other criminals who see themselves as entrepreneurs regularly solicit business advice from Madoff, who is happy to give it.
Now, says the magazine, Madoff lives on $290 a month. His favorite purchases are mac and cheese (60 cents), cans of Diet Coke (45 cents) and a Timex watch ($41.65).
One inmate does laundry for the others for $10 a month, but Madoff hustled him down to $8.
“You couldn’t get an ice cream cone off of him,” one ex-con said.
He misses his wife, Ruth, who still comes to visit. He knows he’s never getting out: “I’ve got 150 years,” the magazine says he told an inmate, “and I’m 71.”