Ithaca Blog

Monday, June 29, 2009

Could Bernie Madoff Not Cheat An Honest Man?

In wondering where Bernie Madoff got the chutzpah to swindle $65 billion from friends and associates, he must have thought they had it coming.

"You can't cheat an honest man," the saying goes. Did any of these people not occasionally suspect they were part of a swindle? Mr. Madoff never gave any information about any investments their profits were coming from, since there were no investments, except investments into his personal lifestyle.

Apparently the swindle is alright with everyone as long as it pays. Someone was getting cheated, but everyone figured it was someone else, which is fair, it seems, in such circles.

We know a lot of hard-working and honest people got caught up in this. We're not saying anyone deserved it, even those who perhaps reckoned it out. We're just speculating, you should pardon the expression, on Madoff's mentality.

The one thing we can't figure out at all is why Mr. Madoff never thought, hey, I could get in a lot of trouble for this.

Maybe it's like smoking. You figure it's going to kill you. But you also figure this particular cigarette is not going to kill you. So, strike a match. Maybe Madoff got ensnared that way: it hasn't hurt me so far. When it starts to, I'll deal with it.

He must have been charming, because he doesn't seem smart. He hired for his defense a lawyer whose parents once invested money with him. He gets a sentence of 150 years. I could have gotten him that. Maybe this particular lawyer, for some reason, wasn't trying too hard.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

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