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Little Sympathy For Bernie Madoff’s Family

Surely, it’s been a difficult time for the wife and son of Bernie Madoff,  the man now serving a 150-year prison sentence for running a $65 billion Ponzi  scheme and bilking investors out of their life savings. The couple’s other son,  Mark Madoff, committed suicide, hanging himself with a black dog leash while his  two-year-old son slept nearby. Ruth Madoff, Bernie’s wife, says she knew  nothing about her husband’s crimes while they were happening, but must endure  the harassment, shame, and upsetting newspaper headlines that have come as a  result of the scandal. And Andrew Madoff, the other son, feels betrayed.

They’ve been through an ordeal, no question about it. But  is this really the time to be making a mass appeal for sympathy?

It seems the Madoffs think so. In a new book, Truth and  Consequences: Life Inside the Madoff Family,  Ruth and Andrew Madoff, along  with Andrew’s fiancee, Catherine Hooper  tell all about their time  with Bernie Madoff. The book was written by  Laurie Sandell, but “arranged,”  CBS’s 60 Minutes reports, by Hooper. And the complaints about Bernie Madoff  are many.

Said Andrew Madoff to 60 Minutes:

It was one of the hardest things to come to grips with, in trying  to  get my head around this, was that feeling that I had been used—almost  as—as a human shield by him. He—it’s—it’s unforgivable. No—no father  should  do that to their sons.

A  “human shield”? He wasn’t in the middle of a revolution in Libya.  He was the  son of a crooked financier and involved in the family  business. And while he  may well not have known about his father’s  transgressions, he surely lived well  from the deception his father  engineered.

Ruth Madoff was allowed to keep $2.5 million of  the couple’s stash, an amount she acknowledged to 60 Minutes  is a lot of  money to some people. But she added quickly that she’s  spending a lot on legal  fees. And Andrew, while portraying himself as  something of a victim, was a bit  more coy with CBS’s Morley Safer:

Safer:  Let me ask a really intrusive question. How much are you worth as we speak?

Andrew:  Well, I was fortunate over the years, running the business  that Mark and I ran.  It generated many millions of dollars in profits  and enabled my brother and I  both to live a comfortable lifestyle.

Safer:  You haven’t answered the question.

Andrew:  I made, in—in good years—several million dollars. My life, at  this point,  is an ope—is an open book. The details of my financial  past have been laid  bare completely in the lawsuit against me. I  haven’t enjoyed it. But that’s the  reality that I live in.

Safer:  Do you fear ending up broke?

Andrew:  I think that it’s a very real possibility, but I am prepared to start over  again and build myself back up.

Think  of all the people who have been unemployed for many months,  even years. The  people who have lost their homes and actually still owe  money on the mortgage  because their houses are worth so much less than  they paid for them. The people  who don’t have health insurance, and  live in fear of developing some illness  they won’t be able to afford to  treat. Does Andrew Madoff think a few million  dollars a year is still  just “comfortable”?

The  Madoff family has indeed endured a great deal of upheaval. But  this is not the  time to ask the rest of the country for support.

By: Susan Milligan, U. S. News and World Report, October 31, 2011

November 2, 2011 - Posted by | Class Warfare, Income Gap, Mortgages | , , ,

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