March Madness: Madoff Faces the Mob

I had to delay a decision this weekend — because of the rainy weather here in NE Ohio. I’m thinking about running a half marathon in Pittsburgh May 3, but I need to start increasing the distance of my daily runs — from five miles to seven then nine or 10. Lucky to get in five Saturday and Sunday; heavy rain was bad enough, but flashing lightning at 6 a.m. gives you some reason to question things. So we’ll see what happens this weekend.

In the meantime, I’ll admit that others have bigger decisions facing them.

For instance, Bernie Madoff is expected to be in court Thursday to cop a guilty plea — and then get this, stand face-to-face with those he allegedly stole from, wiping out their savings, dreams and in some cases shutting down charities and foundations that lost all the money needed to pay staff and so on. Game on.

Wow. Talk about March Madness. And you think a crowd can get worked up over college hoops. How about a game of Ponzi — with some $50 billion at stake.

My guess is that Bernie would like to do this via Twitter — or Facebook — or some other social networking site. Let’s face it. Nobody really likes to talk face-to-face anymore. Do we? But the judge, apparently, is going to make him face the music and sing in public before an audience that will be a little less sympathetic than the one greeting the American Idol warblers. As Randy Jackson might tell the former Wall Street Wizard, “Ah, come on dog.” I digress.

Here’s from the New York Times article, “Madoff Expected to Plead Guilty Thursday“:

Under federal law, a criminal’s victims have a right to be informed about, and to attend, any court hearing involving a plea bargain by the defendant. But the courts are allowed to fashion alternative arrangements when the number of victims is so large that individual testimony or attendance would be impractical.

That is certainly the case here, prosecutors asserted in the motion they filed Friday evening. Thousands of Mr. Madoff’s known victims are scattered around the world, and some of his victims have not even been identified yet, they said.

As an alternative, Marc Litt, an assistant United States attorney, proposed that victims be kept informed about pending hearings — including the one on Thursday — through notices posted on the United States attorney’s office Web site. Links to that information would also be provided on a Web site maintained by the court-appointed trustee handling victim claims.

Judge Denny Chin of Federal District Court in Manhattan approved the proposal, specifying that “any potential victim who wishes to be heard” must send an e-mail request to the prosecutor’s office by 10 a.m. Wednesday. “The court will rule on whether, and the manner in which, victims may be heard at the proceeding,” Judge Chin noted in his order.

Requests should be sent by e-mail message to Information about future hearings will be available at and at

Wow. Grab the pitchforks and head for the Big Dance. Well, we’ll see. But if people do show up at the hearing, I expect here’s a preview of the kind of commentary (shout-out?) Bernie and his defense team will hear.

Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, lost his life’s savings with Madoff. And his charity, according to an article in The New York Times, lost $15.2 million. Here’s what Wiesel had to say about Madoff:

“ ‘Psychopath’ — it’s too nice a word for him,” Mr. Wiesel said in his first public comments on Mr. Madoff and the Ponzi scheme he is accused of perpetrating on thousands of individuals and charities, including the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity.

“ ‘Sociopath,’ ‘psychopath,’ it means there is a sickness, a pathology. This man knew what he was doing. I would simply call him thief, scoundrel, criminal.”

Oh boy. Sociopath…psychopath…thief…scoundrel…criminal. Those are the kind of descriptors typically reserved for referees during March. This is madness.

And, by the way. There is a Bernie Madoff listed on Twitter.

Go figure.


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