Enjoying Hightower? How about a weekly email that gives you the full scoop?
Bernie Madoff, I’m talking about, the world-champion Ponzi schemer who has confessed to bilking some $50 billion from investors in his felonious hedge fund, wrecking lives in the process. Bernie being Bernie, though, he didn’t just pick on strangers – many of his personal friends and close associates were also suckered. In fact, he even ripped off his 74-year-old sister for about $3 million, forcing her to sell her home. As an incredulous neighbor asked, “What kind of person scams their own sister?”
Well, a person like Bernie, who’s been living his scam for years and getting away with it, so he keeps trying to get away with ever-more escalating outrages. In fact, even now, the authorities are feeding his sense of special privilege. For example, rather than being in jail – as any far lesser crook would be – he’s under house arrest, comfortably ensconced in his $7 million Manhattan apartment.
While in the privacy of his swank prison nest, Bernie has tried to stash about $300 million worth of his ill-gotten loot with friends and relatives, so his victims can’t get it through court actions. For example, he sent out three packages on Christmas Eve containing more than a million dollars worth of precious gems, Tiffany watches, and such. When this ploy was detected, Madoff’s lawyer claimed that these were merely “a few sentimental personal items,” and that poor Bernie had innocently failed to realize that it was wrong to dispense assets bought with other people’s money.
Astonishingly, a judge let him get away with this, requiring only that all valuables in Madoff’s apartment be inventoried, so they can be checked periodically. But – get this – the judge allowed Bernie himself to do the inventory!
In America, if you steal a little, go to jail; if you steal a lot, go to your penthouse.
"Two wrongs don't make a right, but three left turns do." --Jim Hightower