You'd think that prison would be kind of hard for Bernie Madoff, the perpetrator of what has been described as the largest Ponzi scheme in history. After all, he's used to the lifestyle of the rich and famous.
In the outside world, the name Bernie Madoff elicits disgusts, but inside the prison walls, he is a hero:
From the moment he alighted, he had “groupies,” according to several inmates. Prisoners trailed him as he took his exercise around the track. (Persico had also attracted a throng when he arrived, but was disgusted and quickly put an end to it.) “They buttered him up,” one former inmate told me. “Everybody was trying to kiss his ass,” says Shawn Evans, who spent 28 months in Butner. They even clamored for his autograph.
And Madoff was usually more than happy to respond. “He enjoyed being a celebrity,” says Nancy Fineman, an attorney to whom Madoff granted an interview shortly after his arrival at Butner. (Fineman represents victims who are suing some of Madoff’s “aiders and abettors,” as she calls them.) Madoff seemed surprised and tickled by the lavish treatment, though he steadfastly refused to sign anything. Even in prison, he wasn’t going to dilute the brand. “He was sure they would sell it on eBay,” Fineman told me. “He still did have a big ego.”
Here's a fascinating story by Steve Fishman of the New York Magazine about Madoff's new life behind bars: Link
(Picture: Bernie Madoff by former fellow inmate and bank robber K.C. White)
Previously on Neatorama: 9 Most Brazen Ponzi Schemes in History