Madoff From Behind Bars: I Made My Clients ‘A Lot Of Money’

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — The world is hearing the voice of Wall Street swindler Bernie Madoff for the first time since he went to prison. In a recent interview, Madoff defended himself and showed little pity for the victims of his Ponzi scheme.

Madoff said he didn’t need the billions his scheme brought in because he was already a successful businessman with a penthouse apartment, beach house, and yachts.

“If you think that I did this, I woke up one morning and said ‘well listen I want to be able to buy a boat, a plane and this is what I’m going to do,’ that’s wrong,” Madoff said in a telephone interview with New York Magazine.

Yet, it sounded as though Madoff was still shirking responsibility for the pain he caused his victims, insisting the ponzi scheme wasn’t for his benefit but for theirs. He claimed he did it all for his clients, who should have known returns so much higher than the Wall Street averages had to be fishy.

“Most my clients, the individual clients, all are not net losers. I made a lot of money for them,” Madoff said.

Illene Kent said her parents lost their life savings with Madoff. She said she took special exception to the disgraced financier’s comments.

“My stomach turns. I just don’t know what’s going to come out of his mouth. If his lips are moving. he’s probably lying,” Kent told CBS 2’s Lou Young.

Judith Welling and DeWitt Baker were two others who invested money with Madoff and ended up losing their savings.

“There were a lot of people that didn’t take out everything they put in. They had kept it as an investment account really compounding over the years, paying the taxes,” DeWitt Baker told CBS 2’s Don Dahler.

Madoff also repeated earlier claims that banks and fund managers knew the numbers weren’t adding up, but wanted to do business with him anyway.

“You say to yourself, these banks that wouldn’t give you the time of day, some of them all of a sudden, are willing to give you a billion dollars,” he said.

The court-appointed trustee trying to recover money on behalf of the victims has filed a lawsuit against Madoff’s primary banker, JP Morgan Chase, alleging the bank suspected something was wrong for years, but did nothing about it.

Madoff admitted it was an emotional moment when he finally came clean to his family.

“I explained to them, you know, what…the deal was, that I owe all this money out… and I’m not going to be able to recover it and so on and so forth,” Madoff said. “They were like…everybody was like stunned. I was crying.”

Madoff told the interviewer he tried to close out accounts and give money back to his clients when it became obvious the scheme was collapsing, but he said they refused to let him because they were getting such large returns on their investments.

One of his two sons, Mark, eventually committed suicide. Madoff said he cried for weeks, and his wife, Ruth, still hasn’t forgiven him for the damage he did to their family.

“How can she not be angry at me? She tried not to be…it’s hard not to be. I destroyed our family,” Madoff said.

Madoff is currently serving a 150-year prison sentence in North Carolina after pleading guilty in 2009 to fraud charges.

  • john birm

    Go get em “slugger”

  • Lina

    Too much mocking and condemning of what’s Madoff done, was too much for him to bear even in his 150 years in prison, even his family forsake him for a shameful act he’d done, There you will know who are your true friends and those who are not. Friends are only good for you when they get something from you but when you were in great turmoil of your life then they were all gone, and nobody will depend on you.

  • AKL

    I have to agree with some of the comments, especiallly the one “anyone investing with him… what they deserved”.
    Why was it when the going was good no one said anything. Why is it that the ones having lost if all are not investigated, because if that much money was lost, I’m quite sure triple that was gained.
    My mother always told me IF IT IS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE IT IS NOT.
    But, I think the reason these people did lose it all is because they had some, and they wanted more. They had a lot and they wanted even more.
    I SAY THIS, IF I GAMBLE I HAVE TO BE READY FOR THE FALL. The blame should not be only on Madoff, but it should by on those who were willing to look the other way.
    Our government puts its nose into everything else, and such shaking and moving had to be noticed by them.
    I can only go by what happened to me I RE FINANCED MY HOME TO GET IT UNDER MY NAME ONLY, and Compass Bank was very happy to comply.
    I GOT AN EQUITY LOAN FROM THEM ON WHAT THE APPRAISER HAD SAID, ALTHOUGH TODAY I KNOW THEY AS A FINANCIAL INSTITUION MUST HAVE KNOWN THAT THE APPRAISER’S FUTURE VALUE OF MY HOME HAD TO HAVE BEEN BALLOONED, yet I had not lived in my home for 5 years, as the law states. I had rented my home out since 2001, the loan in 2006; does that tell you anything.
    They banks were willing as long as they were not caught.
    Madoff gambled with other people’s money, but the ones who should have stopped him a long time ago, looked the other way; I allegde.

  • Colonel Benjamin

    That which we are being told is interesting: that which we are not being told, and never ever will, is fascinating. The truth will never come out, but of course this is politics!

    Is there no help for the widow’s son? In this case, apparently not!

  • Yahya Sharif Shabaka

    Hail to the chief (Bernie Maydoff) What he did is typical of a capitalist..” By any means neccessary” is the mantra of the true capitalist. What we learned about the Enron company,and other companies that have been brought low,by the united states government will soon see them all fall. The entire wealth of the European nations inclu. America is a giant scheme. Everyone wants something for nothing or very little investment. One writer is absolutely correct..” as long as the money contnues to flow…Let it flow. But when the illeagal water flow dries up….HOLLA THIEF

  • Lina

    I think this scam is not just happened like what Madoff did, so many around the world but just keep quite only as long as they won’t be discovered. Everybody make mistakes and he acknowledged what he did. All those blame should not pin point to him alone but for those people who get involved also , only just unlucky for those who did not touched their money, and lucky for those who take their money and spent it lavishly. So many corrupt practices even in the government officials and those leaders in their own countries.

  • mindy Hunt

    anyone who knowing invested with him over any length of time got what they deserved.those kind of returns please. glad it happened to em

  • Bernie Damann

    anyone who knowing invested with him over any length of time got what they deserved.those kind of returns please. glad it happened to em

  • perry

    Let the guards in jail supply him with a few extra bedsheets and his guilt will eventually eat away at him.

  • frances glasner

    losing his son and wife walking away is already the biggest punishment anyone can have and I dont understand why he hasnt comitted suicide himself. If he had closed up shop, given everyone their money back then it would have gone alright. Or having become a billionaire returned all moneis mack to clients and said he was closing up. Making excuses is another way out

  • Hermie A. Pacheco

    Madoff will not run out of reasons just like other people who are engaged in the
    same kind of modus operandi.. Of course anybody being offered a bigger return of
    their money will surely fall into his trap.. Who dont need money anyway.. But in the
    end.. knowing that your activities are all illegal, there is really nothing to justify it.

  • stealthfighter

    Welcome to the 21st Century.

  • Paul

    I am from India and we have had similar Ponzi schemes (highly illegal here) here which went bust. People who invest money in such schemes, know that one cannot get abnormally high returns without some hanky panky. But they remain silent as long as the high returns keep flowing. But start shouting “thief”, when funds dry up.

  • NYC

    Everyone involved with this man’s business was greedy.

    • hcchung

      Greed blinds the greedy.

  • karen s

    why is this criminal allowed to speak, and continue to inflict pain on his victims.he speaks, son of same, charlie manson. free speech should stop when the door slams shut on their miserable lives. make the cells soundproof please.

    • Molvi_Whisky

      Karen, he should speak, as his fate is pretty much sealed, plus loss of his son might make him start talking which is what we really should be knowing. It’s no one man show that I beleived right from start. Madoff could not have done it without the collusion of SEC and other law enforcers’ complicity. In fact another probe in the form of an independent commission should be set up to unearth the hidden.

      • Emmisha

        Molvi_Whisky I totally agree with every word you wrote. This is surely no one man’s show or guilt. In time to come we are going to hear the truth. “Greed KIlls”, and surely look what happened.

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