Best Place to Steal From the Rich - 2009
The Palm Beach Country Club
The first rule of stealing from the rich is not to talk about stealing from the rich — at least, not until you're in prison. Now that I, Bernie Madoff, am securely behind bars, let's talk. By now, you must know that the Palm Beach Country Club was founded in the 1950s so that wealthy Jews like me could enjoy all the luxury of those WASP clubs.
Here we suffered no ethnic slurs, no tasteless Jewish jokes. Here we could trust one another — if only here. The social pressure against violating that trust made it sacred. It is said that I convinced a third of the club's 300 members to invest with me.
That sounds about right. They are all fabulously wealthy but none as wealthy as they wished, and the genius of my stealing from the rich (if you must call it that) is my way of making the victim believe that he was the one getting money for nothing.
It took $1 million to even converse with me about investing and a great many millions more for me to decide it was actually worth my while. Had I taken more than a third, you see, then the club clique of Madoff investors would lose too much of its air of exclusivity, a quality every bit as appealing to my victims as the absurdly high rate of returns my investments allegedly made.