So, here is how I see this whole story:
- Madoff has been robing his clients for the past 20 years, living extremely largely without having anything to do but pretend everything was fine.
- When he reaches 70 years old, the markets collapse.
- Being an old but clever man, he knows clients will redeem, and he cannot repay.
- He has diverted about $65 billion, that is $65,000,000,000 — bigger than the whole wealth of Warren Buffett or Bill Gates, making him actually the world wealthiest man.
- He transfers all this money into hidden accounts, letting only his wife and children know how much and where.
- He asks the children to denounce him, protecting them this way. "Sons, I am an old man, denounce me, keep all the wealth, and live happily ever after."
- He sets up a huge play — the persecution — where he pleads guilty and tells the whole world how sorry and ashamed he is, but will nonetheless not reveal what he has done with the money. Since he is pleading guilty, he has no obligation of revealing anything.
- Media just repeat the guilty and sorry part of the speech and forget about the biggest robbery of the entire history, and Madoff's family is now one of the richest families in the world.
NEW YORK – Saying he was "deeply sorry and ashamed," Bernard Madoff pleaded guilty Thursday to pulling off perhaps the biggest swindle in Wall Street history and was immediately led off to jail in handcuffs to the delight of his seething victims. Madoff, 70, could get up to 150 years in prison when he is sentenced in June.
The plea did not satisfy many investors who had hoped Madoff would be forced to name any family members or others who helped him swindle them out of billions of dollars. He pleaded guilty to all 11 charges against him — with no deal with prosecutors — meaning he is under no obligation to disclose names and tell authorities where the money went. He is not believed to be cooperating with prosecutors.
"I am actually grateful for this opportunity to publicly comment about my crimes, for which I am deeply sorry and ashamed," Madoff, speaking softly but firmly, said in his first public comments about his crimes since the scandal broke in early December.
The fraud, which prosecutors say may have totaled nearly $65 billion, turned a well-respected investment professional — he was once chairman of the Nasdaq exchange — into a symbol of Wall Street greed amid the economic meltdown.
Madoff pleaded guilty to charges including fraud, perjury and money-laundering, telling the judge that the scheme began in the early 1990s, when the country was in a recession and the market was not doing well.
Madoff implicated no one else, though investigators suspect relatives and top lieutenants — perhaps Madoff's wife — may have been in on the scheme.
Welcome to the real world.