Careful trying your Ponzi act with inmates' cigarettes, Bern.
Careful trying your Ponzi act with inmates' cigarettes, Bern.
U.S. Department of Justice

[Updated] Payday: Bernie Gets a Buck Fifty

It's the day that Bernard Madoff gets to pay for his $65 billion sin. If you had money to invest -- and here I'm assuming you're not one of his victims -- then would you invest it on a bet that today the convicted swindler gets a prison sentence of just 12 years as his lawyers have requested? Or would you guess it's closer to the 150 years that prosecutors are asking for?

Barring a sudden, 11th-hour willingness by Madoff to rat out his associates in the fraud, you can bet on the latter. [UPDATE: And the latters have it!] Hell, if I were Madoff, I'd rather die in prison than deal with the avenging angels who would stalk me on the outside.

With Madoff taken care of, the angry mob can now go looking for fresher meat. In that spirit, check out a report last week from ProPublica, which investigated Palm Beach resident Jeffry Picower, the Madoff investor who made a $5 billion profit by pulling out his money before the fraud was exposed. Picower's Palm Beach home is his single most valuable asset, but its $28 billion value is still a tiny fraction of his wealth from Madoff investments alone, which begs the question of exactly where that money went. Adding more intrigue is the fact that Picower's investments with Madoff paid an extremely high return. So much that the court-appointed trustee makes a circumstantial case that Picower knew of Madoff's scheme.


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