Prison wages being what they are, it would take this mad Ponzi schemer several times longer than the age of the universe to make full restitution.
This is a cosmic amount of bad karma to work off. If there’s such a thing as reincarnation, Madoff is going to be busy for millions of lifetimes. And if instead there’s a Hell, Satan’s going to have to hand over his pitch fork for at least half of eternity.
This massive debt – though largely symbolic – is bigger than the market cap of almost every company in the world. Procter & Gamble’s market cap, for instance, is about $154 billion. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway’s market cap is at $141 billion. Google is $134 billion.
Meanwhile, Madoff’s poor wife – who Madoff argued deserved about $70 million of assets he claimed were not connected to his fraud - agreed to give up almost everything, including boats, cars, exquisite properties in Florida and New York. All she’ll be left with is about $2.5 million, practically destitute by Madoff standards.
I am flying to New York this weekend and hope to attend Madoff’s sentencing hearing on Monday. It promises to be quite a scene with hundreds of victims left far poorer than Mrs. Madoff.
Let me know if you have any ideas about what I should write about this spectacle. I keep wondering: What’s left to be said, that hasn’t already been said?
(Photo: Madoff trading card by Topps Co.)