Thursday, March 12, 2009

Bernie Goes To Jail

Bernie Madoff was put in jail this morning. Want to bet how long that will last? I figure he will get a doctor's note saying he's sick so needs special treatment, will pay for a new wing on the governor's mansion in exchange for special "prison" accommodations consisting of some mansion with a mall cop at the front gate, with "special" food for his "special" medical needs. Oh yeah -- and a leg alarm to "alert" the authorities if he travels further away than Switzerland or Brazil. Then soon he'll "die" just like Kenny Lay did (nobody ever saw old Kenny-Boy's body, did they -- I figure his body is on some beach in Brazil holding a pina colada). Then Bernie will join his wife (or maybe that's a two-birds deal -- maybe he'll dump her too) and live out his life in some other country, wherever he's got his money hidden. After he pays bribes to cut this cushy deal for himself.

In fact, he's probably got his money in the private, secret off-shore accounts where all the major politicians hide their money -- the Bush family, the Clintons, the bin Ladens -- you know how all those rich people pal around with each other on week-ends. Then put on their nationalist hats when the media shows up ("Oh, I just hate the bin Ladens and the Saudi financing of terrorists," says Bush, but in the meantime they are bffs when it comes to pooling their money to take over entire continents, steal resources from poor people throughout the world). Laugh at the pathetic people in their own countries desperately trying to survive, hold on.

One of Bernie's motives for pleading guilty could have been to prevent evidence from being introduced at trial about his criminal activities -- whose money he had, where it came from, where he put it. What if it was mob money? Better still, what if it was money from national politicians, money they were not supposed to have or could not explain having. You know -- the bribes they deny they take. This is just like it always works in the mafia stories. The "bookkeeper" has to cop a plea to prevent evidence from coming out at trial to show the complicity of the top politicians.

Raise your hand if you think that the reason the SEC and federal government buried every single complaint they received about Bernie (over a period of 20 years?) is because top politicians from across the country have used Bernie to hide their dirty money, or launder bribe money into the country and into their pockets.

So why else would Bernie cop a plea? Except to cover up the truth.

One of the "victims" of Bernie was outside the hearing this morning, interviewed on the radio. Sorry, I just can't feel sorry. This lady said she lost her entire retirement. She had worked, saved her money, put away her pennies, never spent her savings, never even dipped into it, just saving so she could be "comfortable" in her old age. Now it was all gone. You'd think she was a retail clerk from New Jersey, maybe made a little more than minimum wage, blue-collar husband, the family vacation was a trip to the beach, used cars, brown-bag lunches. So the interviewer asked her: How much of your money did Madoff have? And the lady said: $5.6 Million. As in Dollars.

And so I thought this: if you saved $100,000 every year of your 30s, 40s, and 50s, that would be $3.0 million, assuming the money never got trashed in a market drop. And in order to "save" $100,000 per year, how much money would you have to earn? $500,000? Each and every year of your adult working life? So exactly where did this woman get the money? I mean really, where did it come from? She said she'd had a "good" job. I'll say.

A lot of times the best con artists are the ones who get their victims a little bit dirty. So let's say somebody has some illegal source of income -- such as from money laundering for drug money, or money secretly brought into this country and used to bribe our politicians -- and people are paid a percentage of what they launder, and they need some really secret confidential place to put that money, with somebody who "knows how it works," so to speak, and will not turn them in. Those are the perfect victims because they're not going to go to the D.A. if they suspect anything funny. They can't, because they themselves have unclean hands.

I'm not saying this woman got her money from illegal means. But I'll bet a lot of Madoff's "victims" were people who had a significant motive in keeping their money secret and hidden. Could be hiding from taxes, could be illegal earnings, could be hiding from prior spouses, could be politicians hiding their bribes and kick-backs. Which would explain the plea bargain, hush-hush resolution of this matter.

I hope the Madoff story isn't the beginning and end of it. I want all of them, every single person who worked on Wall Street above the level of receptionist, in prison. For life. But I also want a full disclosure of every single person who gave money to Madoff, and where they got that money. Let's not stop with Madoff because he's so obvious. Let's go get the big boys from Merrill Lynch, Citicorp, all of the institutional players, and let's go through their books with forensic accountants.

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