Illustration by Minh Uong/NYT; Photos (clockwise, from top): Daniel Acker/Bloomberg; Chang W. Lee/NYT; Chip East/Reuters; Bebeto Matthews/AP; Eliot J. Schechter/Bloomberg
Published: December 10, 2011
“I made the tragic mistake of trying to change the way money was managed and was successful at the start, but lost my way after a while and refused to admit that I failed.”
— Bernard L. Madoff, in an e-mail on Oct. 11, 2011
BERNIE MADOFF can’t let go.
He still hangs on each nugget of news from the outside, still points fingers, still spins his own story.
And, on occasion, he still mourns — something, he says, he will do for the rest of his life.
But these musings from prison, conveyed in dozens of e-mails to a reporter for The New York Times over the last year, are merely comments from the sidelines. For him, the case of the United States of America v. Bernard L. Madoff is officially over.
But for those he ensnared, the Madoff story drags on. It began three years ago today, when F.B.I. agents arrested a man who, to the world, was a wizard of Wall Street. Mr. Madoff soon confessed to a Ponzi scheme that became a symbol of our troubled financial times. Its unraveling took tens of billions of dollars of fictional wealth from thousands of victims around the world.
Mr. Madoff will mark this day in a federal prison in Butner, N.C., where he is serving a 150-year sentence. For countless others affected by his crimes — the lawyers and prosecutors still trying to unravel his scheme; the victims still hoping to recover money; and the Madoff family, who remain targets of public suspicion and hostility — today is but a milepost on a long, long road.