Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme is perhaps one of the greatest crimes in recent American history. Not just because of its severity—a reported $65 billion was said to have been lost/stolen from his clients—but also because it caused an irrevocable schism within his own family, and is largely to blame for the suicide of Madoff’s son, Mark. The aftermath of Madoff’s crime is a story that’s still being told. As he sits from his jail cell, his wife, Ruth, lives as a pariah in Florida, paying for her husband’s mistakes. She initially chose her husband over her sons, visiting him in prison against their wishes, but she has since cut off all contact in the wake of her son’s death. At this point, it doesn’t seem like anyone is speaking to each other.
Maybe that’s why Madoff reached out to writer, Steve Fishman. After feeling sufficiently alienated, he felt the need to explain his side of the story. The result is a riveting collection of tapes that have appeared in New York Magazine in which he attempts to take complete responsibility for the destruction of his clients’ lives and his own family. Hearing the man speak is almost jarring. You’ve imagined him as a soulless devil who probably spoke in tongues for so long. In reality though, he has a Queens accent. After listening to the audio clips, I can’t say I feel more empathy towards him. But I think it’s safe to say that the whole situation is fucked.