If there’s one person who knows a Ponzi scheme, it’s Bernie Madoff, the perpetrator of the largest one in world history. And now, locked away in prison, he claims that it wasn’t just him, or even just the financial sector.
Madoff believes the entire US government is a Ponzi scheme.
In an interview with New York Magazine‘s Steve Fishman, Madoff sought to “set the record straight,” and unloaded on the state of financial regulation in the United States and the impropriety of the banks.
He said Wall Street deserved a large share of guilt in bringing about the financial crisis, and that some bankers deserved to be indicted for crimes.
“It’s unbelievable, Goldman … no one has any criminal convictions,” Madoff told Fishman. “The whole new regulatory reform is a joke. The whole government is a Ponzi scheme.”
“The SEC,” he added, “looks terrible in this thing.”
Madoff, 72, a former stock broker and investor, is serving a 150 year life sentence after he confessed to having defrauded clients to the tuns of tens of billions of dollars. He swindled thousands of investors, hedge funds, trusts and charities across five continents, leaving many of them bankrupt.
“These people probably would’ve lost all that money in the market,” he said. “I’m not trying to justify what I did for one minute. I’m not.”
Yet the man guilty of the biggest financial fraud in history sought to clear up his bad imagine, insisting that his intentions were sincere.
“I’m not the kind of person I’m being portrayed as,” he told Fishman, adding: “I am a good person.”
Madoff’s primary banker, JPMorgan Chase, has been accused of deliberately ignoring hints about the illegal nature of Madoff’s activities during the financial crisis.
Attorney Irving Picard, who was appointed by the courts to try and recover funds for Madoff’s victims, is arguing that JPMorgan was complicit in Madoff’s fraud.
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