Feature

Madoff’s jailhouse lament

Bernie Madoff says that family members and friends like Mets owner Fred Wilpon had no idea his investments were a fraud. 

Bernie Madoff may be behind bars, but he hasn’t changed much, said Diana B. Henriques in The New York Times. Now serving his 150-year sentence in federal prison in Butner, N.C., Madoff fully acknowledges his guilt in creating a Ponzi scheme that cost investors $20 billion. But he says that e-mails and messages now being revealed in lawsuits prove that big banks knew he was doing something funny. “I’m reading more now about how suspicious they were than I ever realized at the time,” he says, with a sardonic smile. “They had to know.”

Noticeably more gaunt now, Madoff spends most of his days in a 12-square-foot cell. But he reads up on whatever is being said about him and his family. He’s extremely upset about what he calls the “disgraceful” coverage of his son Mark’s suicide in December. He didn’t ask for permission to attend the funeral, he says, because he knew it would be “a media circus” and that it would be “cruel to my family” to put them through it. If he has a message, it’s that family members and friends like Mets owner Fred Wilpon had no idea his investments were a fraud. “They knew nothing. They knew nothing.”

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