Bernie Madoff's victims are getting some of their money back.
Rod Rosenstein, the deputy U.S. attorney general, called it "the largest restoration of forfeited property in history,"
More than 16,500 claimants -- about 2/3 of Madoff's total victim database -- are getting the first of more than a 4 billion dollar victims' fund. This batch: 772 million dollars.
(More about the recovery of funds from the Madoff scandal here.)
Sounds like a lot, doesn't it? Too bad it's only about 25% of what these people's investments were. (Yes, that's indicative of how much Mr. Madoff was funneling through his system over the years. Yow.)
Meanwhile, Mr. Madoff is enjoying (well, sort of) his life in a comfortable medium security prison. He cleans cells, works in the commissary, and is considered a "prison big shot."
His darling wife had to give up a lot of money, but got to keep a million or so. Hopefully she's making do with that paltry amount. Maybe there's spare change under the couch cushions to keep her going.
He's been in prison for nearly a decade now. (He's 79.) Many of his associates are serving time along with him. (Some have finished - some, like his brother Peter, are not done yet.) Both his sons are dead: one from cancer, one from suicide. His family has pretty much cut ties with him.
Was it worth it, Bernie? Did living the high life for a few decades equal the chance to ruin a whole bunch of people's lives?
Including your own?
On June 29, 2009, he was sentenced to 150 years in prison.
Only 142 more to go.
"It's not like I considered myself a bad person. I made a horrible mistake and I'm sorry."
-- Bernard Madoff