By Robert Weiss
At the age of 71, Bernard Madoff will likely live out the rest of his life in prison. Victims of the fraud were given the opportunity to speak about the impact of Madoff’s scheme, which affected thousands of investors, including charities, hedge funds, trusts and individuals. Some of Madoff's investors went from being millionaires or having comfortable retirements to being nearly destitute overnight after the fraud was revealed.
In 2005, Bernard Ebbers, the then-63-year-old former chairman of Worldcom Inc., was sentenced to 25 years in prison for his involvement in his company’s fraud, which was valued at nearly $11 billion. I had the opportunity to represent thousands of WorldCom employees who saw their hard-earned retirement savings vanish before their eyes. As I sit here almost four years to the exact date of Bernard Ebbers’ sentencing date, I have concluded that the threat of incarceration is no deterrence to these corporate giants. Clearly, Madoff - in his prime during Ebbers’ era - did not learn from the mistakes of other swindlers who were sent to prison.
I have said this once and I will say it again: the only way to get to these people is by hitting them where it hurts - their bank account. These people need to be watched over like a fox loitering in a chicken coup. We are their prey. Millions of dollars of year are not enough for the Madoffs of the world - only when their billions are at risk will they find a sense of remorse for all that they have taken from us. The SEC must step up their watch or we will face the same situation in another four years. [more...]