Don’t get me wrong, I don’t condone the abuse of animals in any form and I believe that Vick being involved with a dog fighting ring even at a distance was dumb.
But let’s put this into perspective – former star NFL quarterback Michael Vick has been serving a 23-month prison term in Leavenworth, Kansas after being found guilty of financing a dog fighting ring (he’s scheduled to be transferred to a Virginia halfway house by January 20).
Did Vick steal from anyone? Did he irrevocably ruin anyone’s life other than his own? Did he shoot anyone?
We can’t say the same thing about Bernard Madoff who is living in the lap of luxury even though he ruined the lives of approximately 8,000 customers and additional untold thousands who benefit from the charities that his customers support.
Take for example Mr. Spencer, a 62 year old gentleman who lost his entire life savings of $10 million to Madoff’s scam.
This gentleman didn’t invest on a whim or foolishly. He has been investing with Madoff for 17 years. He started and sold two businesses and invested the money each time with Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities – a company that had a GREAT reputation. He created his own spreadsheet and checked his monthly portfolio summaries and matched them with his trade confirmations and logged them into his spreadsheet every month. Every transaction added up each month for almost 2 decades. He was hands-on, sensible, and responsible – he did everything right but still got scammed big time by Madoff.
Take as a second example Mr. and Mrs. Thomas – they are in their mid-eighties and the money they invested with Madoff is the only money they have in the world. Mr. Thomas was an accountant all his life, understands numbers and spreadsheets. He did rigorous research before deciding to invest with Madoff.
He had planned for his retirement in a responsible way. He was beyond confident that he and his wife had no financial worries: he had become a millionaire and wealthy enough to afford $130,000 a year for assisted-living accommodations in a home for the elderly that provided round-the-clock health aides for him and his wife.
The computer-generated financial statements he received every month showed that he had $2.7 million, an impressive increase from the $400,000 he had originally invested with Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities 20 years earlier. He thought he had made smart decisions. He thought that he and his wife could live their lives and pay their bills for the rest of their days. Not so. Now this elderly gentleman and his wife are almost penniless and will undoubtedly run out of money and will not be able to afford to pay to live in the assisted-living home they now reside in and they do not have children. They don’t know where they’ll live or who will provide the care they need on a daily basis since Mr. Thomas is 86 and have had three heart attacks and Mrs. Thomas had a stroke 8 months ago. They are now hoping that Medicaid will cover the 24-hour care they need. They are nervous and they are scared.
Before Mr. Thomas decided to invest with Madoff he visited the company’s office and met Mr. Madoff himself. Madoff impressed Thomas very much, as he did everyone else. There were tons of computers and people running all over the place and Thomas figured that Madoff’s operation had to be genuine because he couldn’t employ that kind of staff without money – everything looked so legit.
Thousands of people are ruined. Some young enough and will have to start all over. Some like the Thomas’s are too old. This is tragic.
Madoff could not have maintained this scam all by himself – who was helping him? Who was providing accurate data that was inputted into the Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities computer system that generated accurate monthly statements for decades?
Bernard Madoff should not be walking around free and unfettered and able to mail one million dollars worth of jewelry to family while his investors who trusted him live an agonized and tortured life.
What does Madoff have to do to go to jail, kill a dog?