March 12th, 2009
08:27 PM GMT
Share this on:

NEW YORK– Bernard Madoff will likely spend the rest of his life behind bars, but that is little comfort to the thousands of investors who lost their life savings because of his actions.

Madoff arrives at court Thursday.
Madoff arrives at court Thursday.

After he entered his guilty plea, Madoff addressed the court and said he was deeply sorry and ashamed.

Sorry ... Sorry? This was not a one-time mistake, but a multi-billion dollar fraud carried out over decades. He ripped off friends, neighbors, charities and pensioners.

It seems incredible that he asks anyone to believe he has a conscience.

At the end of the hearing Madoff was ordered to go directly to jail while he waits for his official sentencing, scheduled for June 16.

Government prosecutors will no doubt declare victory, but victims are angry there was not a trial.

Richard Friedman, who lost $4 million in savings, told CNN: "It's not enough just to say, 'OK, I'm guilty, put me away.'

"What about all the other people involved? What about his family? I want to know. What about the money? I don't think there's $50 billion out there. I think a lot of it is with the IRS, but whatever money he had, I think that that should come out. Where is that money?"

Legal experts say we may never know where the money went.

Right now investigators have found just under $1 billion, a fraction of the $60 billion that some estimate he swindled.

The other unanswered question that I struggle with is: Why?

When people commit a crime it helps to understand the motive. Why did this respectable and, by all measures, successful man do this?

Why didn't he turn himself in earlier? He said in his opening statement he always knew what he was doing was criminal and that he would be eventually be caught.

How could he have ruined so many lives? One of his victims said simply, "He is evil."

I think it may have more to do with greed. Yes, at the age of 70 he now faces jail time, but for the last 20 years he has lived a life of extreme luxury.

If he is the only one to serve time for this ... has justice really been served?

Posted by: ,
Filed under: BusinessWall Street

Next entry »
« Previous entry
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. SandyHaberkamp

    Why is the government or someone not acting on behalf of all those people Madoff swindled by freezing all assests of his wife, children,grandhildren, siblings, aunts and uncles and anyone else he spread his ill-gotten monies to overr the last two decades??????

    March 12, 2009 at 9:41 pm |
  2. Mario O.

    There are questions that deserve to be answered.
    First, where are the money? Madoff claimed he used the investors' money to pay down interest to other investors in a piramid structure. But still, there must be more than $1bn that investigators found so far.
    Second, how could he be dealing with everything by himself. It's impossible that his partners in the brokerage, family etc did not know about the scam. This brings me to another point.
    Why did he decide to turn himself in? With billions of dollars you can disappear wherever you want. Why turning yourself in after organising the biggest scam ever? I believe that the reason why he is doing this is to defend the others involved in the scam. His family, for example.
    He is 70, he lived a good life, and the price he pays is ending in jail, big price, but what about his family?
    Nobody is talking about them. His sons, partners in the brokerage, they surely knew about what was going on. He is defending his family, and securing them a rich future. He pleads guilty, goes to prison, hoping they relax the investigation and start focusing on the next fraud. In the meantime his family slowly leaves the scenes, and goes to live a not-in-jail life somewhere with the money from the scam... This may be completely wrong, but to me it seems that Madoff planned everything, even what we are witnessing now...

    March 12, 2009 at 9:46 pm |
  3. Abraham Jansen

    Very inveracious that he (Madoff) is the only one....

    March 12, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  4. steve

    Iam sorry that theese poor little rich people lost their money . now the greedy people (including wall street) crying to the gov. that they want help?? no I say, its callled gambling for crying out loud. Madov was promising up to 50% intrest. didnt that ring any bells. or were theese people blinded by greed at the time of the hayday. oh by the way lost
    50 grand in vegas where is my gov. bailout????

    March 12, 2009 at 11:21 pm |
  5. Michael Barnes

    Although no one condones what Madoff did to his investors one can only feel that greed will get you in the end. In particular all those wealthy people looking for "easy money and inflated returns" on their investments have paid the ultimate price. The old saying if it looks too good to be true, then you can be sure it is.

    March 13, 2009 at 12:27 am |
  6. stephen, Philippines

    Only Madoff to be jailed? How about confiscating all his family-owned properties? His family should not live in any "reduced" luxury life.

    Trace the money. Anyone who even just "handle" or "held in trust" of Madoff's scammed money should be held responsible.

    March 13, 2009 at 1:19 am |
  7. David

    Easy come... Easy go... people took a risk and invested to get a few percentage point greater return and it turned out not to be worth the risk.

    The total dollars lost will not put any of these investors begging on the streets for a hand out. So they lost a few hundred million, hard times...
    I feel a lot more for a man who lost his job and can no longer provide for his family and children. I feel for the family who have no home and no security. The majority of Madoff investors made huge profits, now they have lost huge.
    Such Is Life. Too bad.. So sad...
    How about what the Gov't is doing with Our Money pushing it into "Wall Street" bail outs like no tomorrow. It is always easy to spend other people's money.
    Madoff is little different to AIG or GM, only he confessed, for the others the game goes on.

    March 13, 2009 at 6:08 am |
  8. Femi Adelugba

    Mr. Madoff's case bears a canny resemblance to the main character in Irving Wallace's classic novel, "The Almighty" (1982). Madoff may have read and admired this character whom greed and the fear of failure made to continue to pile one crime on another, using terorrism and espionage to make name and money and gaining respect of world leaders, who, unfortunately, were oblivious of hiscrimes. He established banks where he got money from both rich and poor and was declaring paper profit until the bottom fell out, as it has for Mr. Madoff.

    Ttruth is very patient... but it will catch up with offenders, no matter what!

    Femi Adelugba
    Abuja, Nigeria

    March 13, 2009 at 1:14 pm |
  9. dan in Tucson

    This thief is laughing all the way to the Swiss bank. You can see it on his face in every picture. Don't think he hasn't squirreled away a fortune. Now lets see if he gets out in 2 years, or less.
    I bet as soon as people stop watching, he's out and living in another country on all those peoples savings. I say execution is the best solution here. He may have not directly killed someone, but he destroyed many peoples lives. Isn't that the same thing?

    March 13, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  10. dan in Tucson

    Anyone who thinks "let the buyer beware" would probably do the same thing as Madoff if they had an opportunity. Doesn't make it right.

    March 13, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  11. Linda Lawrence

    There is no way that he did this by himself. Bankers had to wonder where all this money was coming from, when he made bank deposits.

    It would take more than one person to keep all those records and send out the mail to the stock-holders.

    Start digging deeper and round up the rest of the gang!!!!!!!!

    All monies must be refunded as soon as posssible. Jail for the rest of the gangsters.

    March 13, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  12. alvin lozano

    madoff's family and friends who shared with that billions must also be investigated and join him in jail. trace the money and put it in charities.

    March 14, 2009 at 2:39 am |
  13. Nam(South Korea,Busan)

    I'm just wanna.... throw a shoe...... to him.

    March 14, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  14. romeoicq

    greedy evil

    March 15, 2009 at 11:25 am |
  15. Arthur

    Little comfort for victims huh?

    Gee it's odd how quickly we feel sorry for wealthy victims, when daily the not-too-wealthy victims suffer daily on crimes that actually hit the heart, like a stabbing, beating or rape of a loved one. Or precious meaningless trinkets which used to belong to a lost loved one are stolen or destroyed.

    Perhaps the criminal ought to have to spend time replacing whatever is lost, or spend time in service to any and all victims regardless of their financial status. What say you judges?

    Wonder why the press and the judicial branch misses the ordinary among us? Follow the money...................

    March 15, 2009 at 11:33 pm |
  16. Miguel, Buenos Aires

    What about the rest of the gang? I cant believe a scam this big was carried out by just one madman with a computer !!

    March 15, 2009 at 11:39 pm |
  17. George

    I have trouble blaming the victims. Perhaps they were blinded by steady returns, but this man was on the board of NASDAQ and had passed an investigation by the SEC (of course, now we know the SEC under Bush was toothless).

    If a regular guy were to have asked Kudlow or Cramer or anyone for bona fides on the guy on cable news, he would have been laughed at.

    At least Stanford had a bogus title to give him away........Madoff seemed beyond reproach.

    March 16, 2009 at 5:34 am |
  18. Martins, Nigeria

    Well, as d old saying goes: 99 days for the thief and just 1 day for d owners. That day has come. I really think he should dance to the music he played. Full consequence for his actions.

    March 16, 2009 at 10:12 am |
  19. Sam

    Maybe you should ask Richard Quest to answer the 4 questions I asked him about, the past rogues or even the top 10 crooks. Don't however think that you and the invetors inthe US have the only crooks. THEY ARE ALL OVER THE WORLD and many of them still functioning are still at it so others have still to be stung.

    March 16, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  20. Linda Lawrence

    There are people who, really like to see, just how much they can get away with. Then they refuse to accept responsibility for their actions.

    I think CEO's of companies, especially some doctors are taking advantage of this. If they are caught, they have a bag full of whinning, squawing, bawling, begging, pleading and trying everyway they can to make others feel sorry for them. When that don't work, they start blaming the victim, accusing them of lying and anything else their evil minds can think of.

    Then they will walk away and do it again.

    Lesson here: Be careful who you feel sorry for. Be darn careful who you pick to take care of you and your family's health issues.

    The good doctors are going to have to start policing their own profession. Otherwise, the bad will be running things.

    March 16, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  21. Joe

    If a person invested $150,000 20 years ago, Madoff would have shown it was worth $1,000,000 at 10% annual return.

    Are they saying they lost $150,000 or $1,000,000?

    March 16, 2009 at 10:41 pm |
  22. christa

    Madoff, his family and the core people who worked under him are leeches of Society. If a person knowingly defrauds clients and then says he is sorry, you better not belief him. Because someone like him and of course his wife and co-conspritors are all psychopaths. They do not care about anyone but themselves. There should be a law here in the US, that takes away all of their holdings all over the world. But I also have to say, if it sounds to good to be true, it is. So people if you want to invest, invest with a company that maybe gives you less, but you still keep your principal. When stock are high don't buy, keep it in your moneymarkets at your bank and do not get creedy. You see what happend. If all of us started saving and are not lead by creed,our lives will be better.

    March 17, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  23. Edman

    Madoff is going to jail to protect his family. A deal was most likely struck to not prosecute his family for the same charges. Any charges against the Madoff family are now for less severe crimes, and that is why Bernard Madoff is so willingly going to prison. He has done an admiral job protecting his family at his own expense, and that is what the rest of us are supposed to do too. Unfortunately, protecting your family means lying about their involvement in a family business enterprise. To this, there is no honor, and there is no place in heaven for the Madoffs in any future. Shame on the family for having such a stiff upper lip.

    March 17, 2009 at 7:31 pm |
  24. Jerry crossley

    One question to the Journalist HOTSHOTS at CNN !
    Can NOT the Hotshots trace ALL that wealth belonging to the FAMILY and ASSociates ?
    IF THEY CANNOT, then the wealth was illegally acquired !!!!

    March 18, 2009 at 12:39 am |
  25. Carlos Rivera

    The madoff Case is an example of human nature:We all want to have a return on our investments,thats what capitalism is all about ,but sometimes we fall for these magical ways of making large profits,TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE SCHEME,was this greed worth while ,i doud it.

    March 20, 2009 at 12:31 am |
  26. Carlos Rivera

    This guy ranks up there with haitis papadoc,nicaraguas Somoza and other swindlers the diference is that the above were dictators whose countries are still in ruin but in the u.s wow....never thought this could happen ...

    March 20, 2009 at 12:36 am |

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Next entry »
« Previous entry
About Business 360

CNN International's business anchors and correspondents get to grips with the issues affecting world business, and they want your questions and feedback.

Powered by VIP