Prison too good for Madoff

Published 7:29 pm Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Blade, Toledo, Ohio, on sentencing Bernie Madoff:

Life in prison is almost too good for Bernie Madoff. That’s what the fallen Wall Street baron could get as a prison sentence after pleading guilty … to all the criminal charges that federal prosecutors have filed against him.

But the thousands of unwitting investors who lost billions of dollars to the former Nasdaq chairman in what is perhaps the largest fraud in Wall Street history want their pound of flesh. And who can blame them?

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This is a guy who engineered an investment scam for more than 20 years in a vast Ponzi scheme that drew in retirees, charities, school trusts, and even Holocaust survivors who entrusted their life savings to his investment firm. …

Many unanswered questions remain about the involvement of “others,” from employees and family members to the treatment of favored investors. By his own estimate, Madoff apparently confessed to carrying out a $50 billion fraud that lasted right up until his arrest in December — although in court documents prosecutors raised the size of the swindle to nearly $65 billion.

And Madoff investors still have no idea where all that money went. Life in prison may be the beginning of the end for the 70-year-old trader, but it’s nowhere near that for thousands of his victims who have nothing, and know next to nothing about when, if ever, they’ll recover from their nightmare.