Madoff says his victims were 'greedy'

By Aaron Smith, CNNMoney staff writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- In his second jailhouse interview, Wall Street scammer Bernard Madoff told a reporter that his victims were "greedy" and the U.S. government is a "Ponzi scheme," though he insisted that he's a "good person."

"Everyone was greedy," said Madoff, according to New York Magazine. "I just went along. It's not an excuse."

Madoff loaded the interview with caveats, claiming that he told investors they were better off investing in government bonds and that he warned them, "I could go crazy and do something stupid."

Of his burned investors, Madoff reportedly said, "Now if you listen to [them,] they're living out of Dumpsters and they don't have any money, and I'm sure it's a traumatic experience to some, but I made a lot of money for people. Does it justify it, no?"

He also claimed that the hedge funds and banks were complicit.

During a series of a dozen telephone interviews with reporter Steve Fishman, Madoff explained how he launched his investment firm with only $500, only to see it morph into a Ponzi scheme in the early 1990s. After several years, he realized he wasn't going to be able to get out of it, but continued to claim that his family members knew nothing about it.

"It was a nightmare for me," he reportedly said. "Look, imagine going home every night not being able to tell your wife, living with this ax over your head, not telling your sons, my brother, seeing them every day in the business and not being able to confide in them."

Madoff told the magazine that he went on suicide watch after his son Mark hanged himself in December, 2010, on the second anniversary of his father's arrest for orchestrating the largest Ponzi scheme in history.

The long-running scheme stole billions of dollars from hundreds of victims before it finally came crashing down in 2008. Madoff pleaded guilty in March, 2009, to running the Ponzi scheme and was sentenced to 150 years in federal prison. He is currently incarcerated at a prison in Butner, N.C.

He told the magazine that his "notoriety impresses" the other prisoners. "It shouldn't, but it does."

He also blamed the government for being part of the problem.

"The whole new regulatory reform is a joke," he said. 'The whole government is a Ponzi scheme."

But the Ponzi schemer himself claims that he's not that bad, at least according to his prison therapist, who told him that he's a "good person."

"You're absolutely not a sociopath," said the therapist, according to Madoff. "You have morals. You have remorse."  To top of page

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