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The Most Oppressed People in America, An Update

[ 30 ] June 30, 2011 |

Granted, birthers are pretty oppressed. But if there’s anybody more downtrodden than the poor sap who has to try to feed a family of four on a mere $500K a year in a desirable urban area, I’d have to say that it’s Bernie Madoff:

Maybe the judge felt, ‘Well, he’s 70 years old, so even if I give him 20 years, he’s going to be 90 years old,’ ” Mr. Madoff said by phone from the federal prison in Butner, N.C.

“But quite frankly, there’s a big difference with dying in prison, you know, and dying outside with your family.”

[...]

Judge Chin has said in recent interviews that he considered a sentence that might have allowed Mr. Madoff to be freed when he is in his 90s. But he concluded that Mr. Madoff simply did not deserve it, and in court called his conduct “extraordinarily evil.”

Mr. Madoff, in a recent series of interviews and e-mails, took issue with the judge’s description. To characterize him as “this monster and this evil person,” he said, “I just think that was totally unrealistic and unfair.”

“In my mind, Chin was anything but fair, with zero understanding of the industry,” Mr. Madoff added.

Look, we can quibble over who stole how many billions here and who was responsible for what suicide or death in penury there, but why should little things like federal law prevent a good man from dying with his family? If some other white collar crook goes unpunished, everyone should be free!

Comments (30)

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  1. Bill Murray says:

    Judge Chin has said in recent interviews that he considered a sentence that might have allowed Mr. Madoff to be freed when he is in his 90s. But he concluded that Mr. Madoff simply did not deserve it, and in court called his conduct “extraordinarily evil.”

    “In my mind, Chin was anything but fair, with zero understanding of the industry,” Mr. Madoff added.

    So Bernie is saying he was only averagely evil for the Ponzi Scheme industry?

  2. actor212 says:

    A day earlier, he characterized himself as a “human pinata”.

    I have no problem if, in exchange for his freedom, he’ll allow himself to be strung up from a tree branch where we can all hit him hard with broomhandles.

  3. Thanks to theives like Mr. Madeoffwiththecash, many people will get to die, outside, with their families. Sure they’ll be huddled under a bridge, in a refigerator box or on a steam grate, but they’ll be outside. And together!

    “In my mind, Chin was anything but fair, with zero understanding of the industry.”

    Oh, it’s the industry’s fault. Well, we’ll remember that the next time a child pornographer gets arrested.

    He really doesn’t get that there might be a connection between his attitude and the fact that the judge thinks he’s evil, does he?

    • DrDick says:

      They may have a point about the industry, but then I have long advocated that they all deserve to be in prison for 20 years.

  4. DrDick says:

    Silly rabbit, everybody knows that laws and punishment are just for the little people. The Masters of the Universe never pay any penalty, no matter what they do.

  5. Erik Loomis says:

    I’ve always thought wealthy white Christian men were the most oppressed people in the United States, but if we are splitting hairs, I guess I could include a wealthy white Jewish man like Madoff in this group.

  6. efgoldman says:

    Maybe he ought to get some benefit of the doubt for bankrupting the Mets…

  7. dave says:

    The thing is, Bernie is obviously correct here. I have no doubt that he is utterly flabbergasted that he gets life in prison for conduct that is utterly conventional to the industry and that apparently will go unpunished except in his very specific case.

    Just because he actually deserves life in prison doesn’t mean he isn’t being treated unfairly relative to his peers.

    • Warren Terra says:

      Oh, for heavens sake. The industry is full of greedheaded psychopaths with huge senses of entitlement, and I’m sure many of them routinely commit immoral and perhaps even illegal acts. But an out-and-out Ponzi scheme is not, I think, “utterly conventional” in the industry.

      I am a bit amazed at the quote, though. I can see letting Madoff off lightly for the first billion dollars he stole from people’s pension plans; perhaps even the second – boys will be boys, after all. But it’s somewhere between the third and the umpteenth billion stolen dollar where I reluctantly begin to conclude that an example must be made.

      • Anonymous says:

        True enough. And of course what Bernie did was ‘bad for the business.’

      • Ken says:

        If Bernie Sanders can show Ponzi schemes are utterly conventional in the business – say, by turning state’s evidence in the successful prosecution of five or six similar setups – I personally would have no objection if the state chose to reduce his sentence to twenty years imprisonment.

        • Holden Pattern says:

          I think you mean Bernie Madoff, there. Bernie Sanders is a socialist who seems to have essentially the same feelings about the masters of the universe as DrDick.

          Though it would be quite a coup if Bernie Sanders could show that Wall Street was basically a Ponzi scheme (in some sense other than the generic large sense which is basically a background fact).

        • mark f says:

          You mean Madoff, although I suppose Sanders wouldn’t mind demonstrating the same thing for different reasons.

  8. Jim Lynch says:

    If Madoff felt any differently about his conviction, he would be a different person.

    And if he was that different person, he son would never have been driven to suicide. To be sure (he says), he cried, and cried, and cried, but then managed to pull himself together. He began granting these self-serving interviews.

    He doesn’t even realize he died years in the bosom of his own family years ago.

  9. dave says:

    What I find most amusing about the Bernie Madoff case was that many of his investors chose to invest knowing his returns were too good to be true. They signed up assuming he was running some kind of illegal operation, they just failed to consider that they themselves were the marks. It’s hard having sympathy for them.

    Now the teacher’s pension funds, etc., I feel extremely badly for. Although I have to wonder why their financial advisers invested in something so obviously fraudulent.

    • That’s how the best cons work. Make the vic. feel like he’s getting away with murder. For light, amusing but instructive reading on the matter I refer you to Terry Pratchett’s books that feature Lipwig von Moist.

      At this point I could also make a pointed remark about religion, but I’ve caused enough trouble for one day.

    • actor212 says:

      Dave,

      I work with hedge funds regularly (including large “respected” ones like the Carlyle Group).

      Returns of the type Madoff claimed were actually middle of the pack. I’ve got funds invested in one that’s risen 2000+% over the past five years alone.

      Think about what’s transpired in that period. Now, it could be a Ponzi scheme (and my office is very sensitized to this fact) and so we watch carefully and run anything and everything past lawyers now, but nothing suggests that it is. The fund is closed to new investments and only requires thirty days notice to withdraw.

      Madoff was making back double digit returns per annum, true, but as I said, that’s middle of the pack for private investment vehicles (we held Facebook for a while thru BBH, in fact, and that made Madoff’s fund look like a CD). Unless you had a concern, like he was making too much, it’s not likely people looked at his desperation to expand his investor pool when the going got tough.

      Until it was too late. And by then, you were screwed by look-back regulations anyway.

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