PHOTOS: Local Madoff investors react to Ponzi-schemer's 150-year prison sentence

News of Bernard Madoff receiving 150 years in prison left some of his former Southwest Florida investors pleased Monday.

“It’s OK with me, as long as he dies in jail,” said Walter Cahn, 83, of Marco Island.

More than 30 Lee and Collier County residents unknowingly contributed to Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, which swindled investors out of an estimated $65 billion.

Much of that money will not find its way back to investors.

“I’m sorry to hear all the money that was lost. It’s what I had to retire on and it’s going to be a big loss,” said Annette Schneider, 77, of North Fort Myers.

Schneider said that because of Madoff, she will be forced to leave North Fort Myers and move to New York.

“I have to take each day as it comes,” she said.

Cahn said his lifestyle will also have to change due to Madoff’s trickery.

“I have to cut corners a little more,” he said.

As of March, only $1 billion dollars of investors’ money had been recovered. That is not nearly enough to pay back the thousands who were hurt by the scheme, some say.

Rita Reardon of Naples, who invested $490,000 with Madoff, was told that investors with less than $500,000 should get their money back, she told the Daily News earlier this year.

However, the few who do get money returned could be forced to give it to a receiver to help pay for other investors who will not get their money back, explained Rob Lancaster, a member of the wealth protection team at the law firm of Cummings & Lockwood LLC in Naples, in a recent Daily News article.

Besides Madoff, who pleaded guilty to securities fraud and other charges in March, only an accountant who is accused of cooking his books has been criminally charged in relation to the scheme.

However, few former investors believe Madoff acted alone.

“I don’t know how (Madoff’s wife and sons) could say they didn’t know what was going on,” Schneider said.

Madoff’s sons and brother run a wholesale stock-trading firm, which Madoff claimed was legitimate and not involved in his scheme.

A judge ordered Madoff to forfeit $171 billion of his personal property, including $80 million worth of assets claimed by his wife Ruth. She will be left with $2.5 million.

“I’m happy that they got the money from his wife,” Cahn said.

Despite the 150 year-prison sentence, Madoff’s one-time investors explained that the experience has ultimately shaken their beliefs in business.

“I’m not investing in anything other than real estate,” Cahn said.

© 2009 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Stories

Related Links

Comments » 0

Be the first to post a comment!

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.

Features