Madoff Gives Interview From Jail

Madoff Gives Interview From Jail

POPPY HARLOW, CNN NEWS ANCHOR: CNNMoney.com’s Aaron Smith was able to get a jailhouse exclusive, speaking on the phone with Madoff who is currently at Butner Federal Correctional Complex in North Carolina. And I want to read a quote, Aaron, from your interview. First of all, congrats on the exclusive.
AARON SMITH, CNNMONEY.COM: Thank you.
HARLOW: Big accomplishment there. I want to read this quote. Madoff saying, “I live with the remorse and the pain I caused everybody, certainly my family and victims.” And you talked to him three separate times over a number of days. What sense did you get from him about his biggest regret?
SMITH: His biggest regret is most definitely the death of his son, Mark. Mark actually committed suicide on December 11, 2010. That is the second anniversary of his father’s arrest. The first thing Madoff said to me is that he feels terrible about his son’s death and feels responsible for it, and he also said that it bothers him a great deal that he is disconnected from his family. He mentioned that he was married for 50 years to his wife, Ruth, and he doesn’t seem to have any contact with his surviving son, Andrew.
BURNETT: So, this is all about him. But what about all of the lives that he really — really, really harmed, the victims? I mean, I remember when the story broke, talking to one in Minnesota who had just tons and tons, and a victim that will be on next said he was decimated by it. Did he talk about that?
SMITH: He did. He mentioned that he feels bad about the victims. And as you know, he has victimized thousands of people, is believed to have stolen $17.5 billion, though, he did dispute that number when he spoke to me. He said that it was actually more like $9 billion. He said that he feels bad about the fact that he victimized all of the people. But at the same time he said that, he also sort of shifted the blame to three investors who he said should have helped him out more back in 1987 when there was the stock market crash that he basically blames for being the impetus for the Ponzi scheme. One of these people, by the way, Jeffrey Picower. He said that he feels responsible for his fatal heart attack in 2009.
HARLOW: You know, one of the very interesting things that only you got to hear is how does he sound?
SMITH: He sounded very calm and collected. He is quite obviously an intelligent man with a lot of knowledge in Wall Street, and he basically sounded very reassuring, and I could easily see how people would get taken in by him —
HARLOW: Wow.
SMITH: — because he basically is very convincing, and he — to tell you the truth, he comes across as kind of a nice guy. And he also uses a lot of Wall Street jargon, and I could see how people would be convinced that this is the man. You know, you give your money to him and he will take care of it.


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