American Morning

Tune in at 6am Eastern for all the news you need to start your day.
June 30th, 2009
10:11 AM ET

Ex-con: Bernie won’t be too popular behind bars

Going from a Park Avenue luxury apartment to a federal prison is going to be quite a change for Bernard Madoff. He was sentenced yesterday to 150 years in prison. What's life going to be like for him behind bars?

Larry Levine served ten years in prison and is now a consultant for white collar criminals preparing to go to jail. He spoke to Kiran Chetry on CNN’s “American Morning” Tuesday.

Kiran Chetry: What do you fill people in on as they get ready to go to prison?

Larry Levine: Well, I do damage control. Once the judge slams down the gavel and sentences you, the lawyer has no idea what's going to happen. So I prepare people for going into custody. I teach them everything they need to know from the time they go in, until they get out. If they get in a jam while they're on the inside, their families can get a hold of me and we can straighten things out.

Now in Madoff's case, he doesn't have an out date. What, 150 years from now? So he really has nothing to look forward to. I see them possibly putting him on suicide watch and/or protective custody because people are going to want to get to him. On a lighter side, he will get about 19-and-a-half years off on good time. They will give him that even though it'll never apply.

Chetry: In a way you're saying he doesn’t have hope for an appeal or hope to get out if he does well?

Levine: You have to prove that the judge abused his discretion by sentencing him to 150 years. Well, Madoff's off the charts as far as the dollar loss and the U.S. sentencing guidelines. They could have given him 200 years, although it wouldn't really make a difference. The judge had the latitude to do that, so an appeal really is going to go nowhere.

Chetry: What's daily life going to be like for Bernard Madoff in a federal penitentiary?

Levine: Well, he was in a detention center. … He's had a little taste of custody, but now he's going to be living in a cell, which is going to be his permanent home and this man who lived in a penthouse for years is going to be living basically out of a two-foot by four-foot wall locker. That's where all of his personal items are going to be stored and he's going to be subject to being counted several times a day, possibly strip-searched. He's not going to have any privacy, and he's probably going to be terrified for his life because people are going to want to get to him.

Chetry: Is he going to be among “hardened criminals”? Is he going to be serving with other people who committed non-violent crimes, meaning white collar?

Levine: I did a custody classification score on him… He really should be in a camp. He really should be in minimum custody, but the problem is, again, the dollar loss. Because of his dollar loss, they're putting a management variable on him. He's going to go to a medium. And he's going to come in contact with people that are bank robbers, killers, rapists and gang members. He's going to be in an extremely dangerous environment and he's going to be serving time with other people that have life sentences. Those people don't have an out date either. So if things jump off, they're not going to hesitate to do something to Bernie. They don't care. What can you possibly do to somebody who is serving a life that's not getting out anyway? Nothing.

Chetry: They would put him in the same prison as rapists, killers, and others?

Levine: It's the custody level. Medium custody.

Chetry: Rapists and killers are in the medium security?

Levine: Well, they work their way down, absolutely. They go from, let’s say a United States penitentiary, which is a high, to medium custody. Yeah. I saw them when I was in the medium in Phoenix; you have people serving life sentences there. I had two cell mates, one of them – he robbed an armored car up in Washington, I think it was in the late '80s and killed one of the armored car guards. These are dangerous people and you've got a lot of racists there – white power Aryan brotherhood – in these institutions and Bernie’s Jewish. Well I’m Jewish myself, but Bernie's not going to be real popular. He’s not going to have any friends.

Chetry: What were you in there for?

Levine: Narcotics trafficking, securities fraud, racketeering, obstruction of justice, and machine guns. My whole case was organized crime.

Chetry: How busy are you as a consultant prepping people to go?

Levine: My phone rings off the hook. Everybody has a problem, everyone has a question. Some people I can help, some people I can't. Now, I had Madoff's reps get a hold of me before he went into custody and I turned them down. I wouldn't help the guy out because I view him as an economic terrorist. If you rip off a bank and insurance company, an institution, that's an acceptable crime. Bernie hurt people. He hurt people individually and I refuse to help people like that. Let him rot in hell.

Filed under: Controversy • Crime
soundoff (182 Responses)
  1. Larry Levine

    First off, I’d like to thank everyone out there for their kind comments, and CNN, for giving me the opportunity to respond to them. I’m glad to see, that many of CNN‘s viewers, share my thoughts on Bernard Madoff being an “Economic Terrorist,” and is deserving of the sentence he was given.

    Although my own past crimes are nothing to be proud of, keep in mind, that I served my time and repaid my debt to society. And after reading the numerous comments, negative and positive left by viewers in regards to my June 30, 2009 appearance on CNN, I think it’s necessary that I respond to clear the air on several issues that were addressed.

    First off, one comment was left by a viewer named Joseph, where he calls me a clown and claims that he served time with me in the 80’s, and that I didn’t know what I was talking about, because the prison he was in had swimming pools and putting greens. I guess since Joseph did his time so long ago, he’s living in the past, because Federal Prisons no longer have swimming pools or putting greens, and the free weights are being eliminated, in favor of exercise machines promoting cardio workout. Since I entered the Federal prison system in 1998, and wasn’t released until 2007, Joseph obviously have me confused with someone else and lacks an understanding of what I really do.

    Other comments were left by well meaning people who’ve probably never served one day on the inside, inferring that I didn’t know what I was talking about, because due to Madoff’s age and health condition he’d only do a short period of time in Medium and then be sent to a camp. Wrong, people with 10 years and under go to camp,11-20 years to a low, and over 20 to a medium. Due to the amount of time Madoff got, he’s a FLIGHT RISK, and there’s no way he’d ever end up in a low, until lets say, the year 2120. But then again, they say the rich live longer, so maybe he will end up there one day. As I said on the air, Medium prisons are dangerous places, so if you think they’re not, perhaps you’d like to spend some time in one.

    Andy said: Levine never did any hard time. Really Andy, I don’t remember you being on the inside with me. Perhaps it’s your understanding that the institutions I went to were a cake walk. Each prison, although they operate under the same policies, has it’s upside and downsides and are run completely differently. I can certainly say, that I did my fair share of “hard time,” and perhaps you can relate to everyone the basis of your comments as I find them lacking any foundation. In addition, I challenge you to come forward with one person that was scammed as a result of my crimes, and your comments about lawyers knowing about what it’s like on the inside are the most ridiculous at all. Unless you’ve lived it 24/7, and lawyers have not, they’re in no position whatsoever to handout advise. Funny, all of my clients all tell me the same thing, “that my lawyer doesn’t have a clue what
    going to happen to me“. And your comments about going to are correct, the only thing is, the average person reading them don’t have a clue what the website’s all about. Sure they list policy, but as anyone who has done time will tell you, the BOP rarely follows its own policy. So, what I tell my clients is, not what should happen, BUT WHAT REALLY HAPPENS!

    Since it seems to be the topic of so much controversy, I’d like to address my own crimes and what my consulting business is all about.

    To begin with, drugs are dangerous and those that sell them need to be held accountable. While in fact, I did sell drugs, they were controlled buys made between me and the DEA after being set up by a fellow criminal to save himself from his own crimes, so in fact, the drugs I sold didn’t hurt anyone.

    I've been shot at, stabbed, survived prison riots, worked with O C figures, and been involved in things people have only seen on make believe T.V. and you know how I came out alive, because of respect, not because of people brown nosing each other. My entire decision to run this business was based on the fact I was tired of seeing people get burned by the system. And believe it or not, there's a lot good people inside, people that were set up by a corrupt system where they had to plead guilty to stuff they didn't do, just so the feds wouldn’t indict there wife or family members. So the next time anyone question my motives, they should thank their lucky stars that there's people like me with the guts to stand up and take on the system when no one else cares.

    Just remember:

    "A prisoner doesn't shed his constitutional rights at the prison gate."

    U.S. SUPREME COURT JUSTICE THURGOOD MARSHALL, Johnson vs. Avery, 393 U.S. 483 (1969)

    June 30, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  2. Robert

    I have news for you Mr. Levine. Ripping off companies is still ripping off individuals. A criminal mind is a criminal mind. You are just a ... less efficient Bernie Madoff.

    June 30, 2009 at 1:03 pm |
  3. Jake Malone

    DMoney – he DID get away with it. He did not get caught – he turned himself in!

    Not too fond of this Levine guy at all. I agree that Madoff should rot in hell, but Levine just seems a bit too hypocritical and self serving.

    June 30, 2009 at 1:01 pm |
  4. stefan

    This guy claims to be doing this "consulting" stuff for a living...he's anything but a professional, it's like being a lawyer and refusing to defend someone because of what you think or what the world thinks about the defendant. Or better yet, he is trying to get on Bernie's clients good side so when they go to jail themselves, he could counsel them alright. Madoff is a crook, no doubt about it, but I think he shouldn't have been given 150 years for what he did was theft and that's what the judicial should punish, the deed and not the amount, that's what the law should be about and not who are the people who got screwed and what friends do they have "up there". I wouldn't be surprised if Madoff will find his end in jail executed by one of the other inmates whose family received a fatty check to get the job done and thus exonerate either the others involved with him or those who got burned. It's business gentlemen, don't blame the government, you weren't blindfolded but greedy. Now it's obvious that you're trying to put the blame on SEC so the rest of us hard working tax payers can pay you whatever sum Madoff was making up for your monthly statements, that's not going to happen, it's gone baby, long gone

    June 30, 2009 at 1:01 pm |

    Too bad that SEC officials will not join Madoff in his hell hole. They had ample warning about his Ponzi operation and remained asleep in their bureaucratic stupor.

    June 30, 2009 at 1:00 pm |
  6. paul l. - thomasville, nc

    Bernie committed unconsionable acts, with little regard for the victims...he has caused excruciating pain and duress to those who trusted him...Bernie is right now feeling a sample of that pain and duress...his days are numbered with anguish, guilt and fear...Bernie deserves to rot in hell, like most of us for our own wrongdoings, although few have perpetrated acts that are so far reaching as Bernie...

    we, the people have not and will not show him mercy...the best he can hope for is a quiet and early death....May God show him divine mercy....

    June 30, 2009 at 12:59 pm |
  7. Fred in Boston

    Here we go again focused on the wrong target. Madoff doesn't matter.
    He is just the sacrificial schmuck. Here are the questions we should be asking; Who are his co-conspirators? Where is the money? How did it get there? Why did the SEC not investigate when given the case on a silver platter by the forensic accountant? That order DID NOT come from a field office. How is it possible that the IRS NEVER ONCE verified a trade with the actual company with all these thousands and thousands of trades being reported on the investors tax returns. None of them ever got audited in 30 years???? Try not reporting $3 in interest payments from a bank on your next tax return and see what happens. Why did the Justice Dept. accept a guilty plea with so many unanswered questions instead of launching a full scale investigation. There is NO WAY this doesn't go to the highest levels of at least one government, they ABSOLUTELY HAD to know about this. Forget about Madoff, follow the money.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:57 pm |
  8. Kevin1916

    What a sanctimonious load of crap. This guy has managed to turn his life around after being involved in "narcotics trafficking, securities fraud, racketeering, obstruction of justice, and machine guns" and he can sit there with a straight face and say "Bernie hurt people...let him rot in hell". Did the drugs he illegally sold not hurt anybody? Did the machine guns he provided to crimanls hurt anybody? Did the people he defrauded get hurt? What was the total social cost of this man's crimes? I am assuming he feels he has reedemed himself and turned his own life around...but he can sit there with a straight face and say "let him rot in hell". What a pathetic human being.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:57 pm |
  9. Criminal-Az

    All I have to say is Levine has no clue what he is talking about. Seems he is only looking for some attention in the press.
    Bernie will be going to medium security prison, and then transferred to a minimum security prison after a short period of time. He is much too old, and white collar criminals do their time in minimum security. And nobody is going to mess with Bernie... Levine has no clue what on earth he is talking about.
    That Jim Powell guy was exactly correct in his assessment. And Levine is a total hypocrit

    June 30, 2009 at 12:57 pm |
  10. Chris Marcum

    I think this Larry guy is a cookie. If he is so tough, why does he have to do any consulting.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:56 pm |
  11. Steve

    Ile Larry is a jerk and just as bad as Madoff, he hooked our kids on drugs.So, Narcotics trafficking, securities fraud, racketeering, obstruction of justice, and machine guns I’d say this puts you in the same class as Bernie Madoff!
    Ole Larry was probably a PUNK in prison.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:55 pm |
  12. bidg

    Good, now when are all these inside bank robbers( bank execs) going to repay what they stole from all of us?They stole a complete financial system that effected us all and still is.They use our dollars that they literally stole from us for lawyers, that can twist the language around to confuse us and cause delay after delay till we suffer ad nauseam and give up.You will never get a bank plead guilty ever,of course unless they have negotiated a deal.Though the law is getting better with the new government,some of the smarter and deceitful are still getting around the law and using it to their advantage.What ever happened to "RES IPSA LOQUITUR"?

    June 30, 2009 at 12:55 pm |
  13. Mary S. Lynn

    Mr. Levine doesn't have to try and help people but he is. This is supposed to be a forum about Bernie Madoff not a place for insults to be flung at Mr. Levine. Mr. Levine has seen it all during his ten years in prison and insults submitted here will have no negative effect on him whatever so maybe we could all just stick to the point, which is Bernie Madoff. Thanks

    June 30, 2009 at 12:55 pm |
  14. Scott

    You have to be kidding. When you rip off a bank or insurance company you also hurt people. Bernie only hurt equally greedy people.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:54 pm |
  15. Pat

    Uh, Larry......ripping off anyone is not acceptable, Bernie is just a whole new level of low.
    Actually, I have no patience for Bernie Maddoff or anyone else involved in that whole mess....not even the investors. They had to know that their returns were well out of the range of normal and with above normal returns come above normal risks. Not that I am totally unsympathetic to the victims. I realize that their worlds as they knew it just ended and that is truly tragic but these type of outcomes were known since the times of Charles Dickens ....By this point in time most people should know that if you build your lifestyle on extraordinary income, you need to acknowledge your extraordinary risk exposure.

    Bernie was greedy, the investors were greedy. Bernie is going to jail because he was also a thief. I will shed no tears for Bernie or anyone else that they can convict. They should all rot in jail for the balance of their lives.

    I do hope that the investors can recoup some of their losses and wish them the best. They were foolish, but not criminal.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:54 pm |
  16. tony

    Bernie will be fine in prison. First of all, this so called consultant is full of, you know what.
    They will assign him at first for a few weeks in the high security for the public to be satisfied. Once the public pressure is off, he will be able to buy himself some sympathy for his old age and illness to move to minimum security. He has enough money hidden to buy all the help he needs in the prison. Even buy protection inside. His sons and family are pretty rich and there are always criminals inside willing to make deals, if the price is right.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:53 pm |
  17. William Hopper

    Be careful how you scream for blood! Everyone wants to see Bernie get shivved in prison. Personally, I would not be surprised to find out that Bernie was innocent but decided to take the fall for his two sons. If it turns out that Bernie has a terminal disease, I'd actually be convinced that the real criminals are still out there and he was the fall guy.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:53 pm |
  18. Bonnie

    I cried when I heard the story of one madoff victim that has to dumpster dive for food when her food stamps run out and is to old an ill to work and dosent have enough money to pay for her medications. But I still think society is judged on the amount of mercy we are capable of. I am sure the vicims would rather that Madoff be in a minimum security prision where he could write a book explaining what happened, which would be a best seller and all the profits would go to the vicitims, some of whom will die without financial help and possibly the book would expose how he was able to get away with what he did, so that we the people could demand better regulation and oversight from our elected goverment.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:52 pm |
  19. karen

    Oh I'm so sorry he will be terrified in prision. Look at the many people he left terrified by squandering their retirement funds and savings. They are terrified that they won't be able to stay in their homes, send kids to college or even live day to day.
    I love the sympathy picture of Ruth Madoff riding the subway with the sign above her head 99 cents. That would be a high price for both of them in my books!

    June 30, 2009 at 12:52 pm |
  20. ranch111

    Bernie's crime is particularly heinous because he preyed upon his own kind–Jews. He showed zero remorse in court. Screw 'em. He'll be dead within the year if he doesn't try to off himself first.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  21. Micky

    Look, not all his victims were "greedy", many were investors in hedge funds or through advisors that invested with Madoff, knowingly or unknowingly. I agree he's a scumbag, but don't blame ALL the recipients – not al of them "knew" what was going on or where their funds were diverted. I agree that his wife, family, friends and unnamed partners should all be punished too and the SEC has no excuse.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  22. Rick Harthun

    I would give Madoff one more year of life, maximum. And it may not happen that others will get to him. It will be a heart attack from the fear and stress he will now have to face, 24/7. His ticker will not be able to handle it all.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  23. TheFabOne

    Don't do the criiiiiiiiiiiiime, if you can't do the tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime..............

    June 30, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  24. rawn

    Poor got pulled in by greed and now you have to pay the price!

    June 30, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  25. diddy

    bernie madoffs bum is gonna hurt lol

    June 30, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  26. Spivey

    "Ponzi scheme should now be known as Madoff Scheme."

    Actually Ponzi scheme should now be known as Social Security.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:49 pm |
  27. savy investor

    Oh hark, I hear all the folks applauding his brisk sentence. Ha ha ha, like it really hurts him, he took the money, all the greedy people are now asking for blood. Guess what, you dummies aren't getting back much back. Don't you think money for nothing is gonna last forever? Get off your wide a$$ and work for it. Ha ha ha......

    June 30, 2009 at 12:49 pm |
  28. Lee

    I hope he does rot in hell. They need to give more sentences like these to people who murder someone.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:49 pm |

    THIS CON IS RIGHT ON on bernie, no one cares about what happens to "POPS"

    June 30, 2009 at 12:49 pm |
  30. Jim Beam

    No need to say more! Levine knows what's up! Hopefully Madoff will be an example to others...

    June 30, 2009 at 12:48 pm |
  31. barry g

    Who really cares anymore?

    June 30, 2009 at 12:48 pm |
  32. Jim

    Keep in mind that the average personal loss in this case was $10,000,000. The people who lost this much money were just as greedy as Madoff. If you have $10,000,000 you really don't need to invest! They had all they would ever need, but they still wanted more. Their greed caught up with them. I have no more sympathy for them than I do for Madoff. As the old saying goes: Only invest what you can afford to lose. For those small investors who were hurt, my comment doesn't apply to you. For those of you who lost millions, you got what you deserved.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:48 pm |
  33. Millicent

    I hope all those on Wall Street and other power house financial people are reading this. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of think twice before you "wheelers and dealers" pillage other people's money or else you will end up in a hell cell like Bernie.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:46 pm |
  34. Fritz

    Why, if he's a consultant, does he still look like someone's bear if he's there to act as a consultant, which we would assume is a neutral party? I mean. really, did the Village Peoiple lose a member, or is he the member of the last Village People's person?

    June 30, 2009 at 12:46 pm |
  35. kevincollins

    What a fascinating read! And bravo to Levine's refusal to help Madoff whatsoever!

    June 30, 2009 at 12:46 pm |
  36. ben

    Love that last line, well few lines starting with "I wouldn't help the guy out..." Says it all!

    He did hurt people. Many peoples' 'lives' are gone because of Madoff.

    High-five, low-five and elbow that Larry!!

    June 30, 2009 at 12:46 pm |
  37. Anthony

    "economic terrorist." I love that termology

    June 30, 2009 at 12:45 pm |
  38. AL ABA

    After reading the interview between Chetry and Levine, Mr. BM should probably pray for a massive heart attack as he walks past the closing prison gates.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:44 pm |
  39. Irene

    For all those bashing Levine, he at least realizes what he did is wrong and is trying to make up for it; he's done repaid his debt to society, so lay off. On the contrary, Madoff has absolutely zero remorse.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:44 pm |
  40. Mike R.

    Seems like I remember something about cruel and unusual punishment? Some of what goes on in our prison systems is not ok, and those of you that would wield that sword, think about what you are doing. Eye for an eye you say? Please move to the middle east.

    But yeah, Levine is wrong anyway. If I were in there with him, I'd be his friend and take out anyone who tried to hurt him so I could get some of that money you know he has stashed in some secret offshore accounts...

    June 30, 2009 at 12:44 pm |
  41. Charlene

    Bernie will spend the rest of his breathing years behind bars. It is all about greed. He will have plenty of time to ask for foregiveness if he opens the Bible and truly spends the rest of his life reading, believing and praying for his soul to be forgiven. I know that everyday people's lives are ruined. There whole lives of hard work and he destroyed their dreams of retirement, gone, by a greedy man. He will have to pray for his own soul. His hell will be in the prison he will accomodate for the rest of his life.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:44 pm |
  42. Mary S. Lynn

    I totally agree with Mr. Levine's assessment of Bernie Madoff and with Mr. Levine's assessment of what Madoff will face in prison. I know that Madoff is a snivelling coward when it boils right down to it. And Madoff will sing like a bird to get privileges and better treatment. When he starts chirping we are going to see a lot more people that he has been shielding thus far join him in the slammer. So he faces danger from people inside and threats from people outside who will pay people inside to take him out. Gee I sure feel sorry for Bernie Madoff.....NOT.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:44 pm |
  43. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    David E. June 30th, 2009 12:21 pm ET

    Dear All,

    For some people, they may not understand why we would like to see an elderly man put away.

    Bernie has ruined thousands of people beyond repair, they have no financial support in their age and some have no family to go to for help.

    Bernie has also caused some folk’s to have commit suicide, and sadly maybe more in the days and years to come.

    With Bernie’s wife with ONLY getting 2.5 million, I think that is 2.45 million more than she needs, and the money should go to the victim’s in this case.

    Bernie will have medical care and three hot’s and a cot now, more than his victims. Trully sad

    So very well said!! So much damage he it's his turn!

    June 30, 2009 at 12:44 pm |
  44. Paul

    Get real. Money talks. With money you can get anything done to anyone, on the inside or the outside. Everything is for sale(contracts,etc.). Madoff is the guy that knows how the wheels turn.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:44 pm |
  45. Giggle

    Federal Penetratiary for this BM ....

    Question of time before he offers double digit returns to his fellow inmates...

    June 30, 2009 at 12:44 pm |
  46. CR.

    Levine really puts a real world perspective on what's about to happen to Madoff. We hear about people going to prison all the's hard to understand the reality of it. Madoff really is going from one extreme to another. I feel bad for Madoff as a human being, but hey, you get what you give. As for "rotting" in hell...I wouldn't go that far.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:44 pm |
  47. Gshye


    What do you mean "They should be giving Bernie a medal, not jail. The people he stole from sure didn’t get that money working 9-5."

    Pure ignorance. The people that invested in him may not have done hard labor to earn their money but that doesn't mean they are criminals. If your intelligence doesn't allow afford you the opportunities to build wealth that's your problem. People like you expect handouts and judge those of us that work hard for our financial success.

    Bernie affected many people across the board- even you. Take a look at the economy around you- the $65 million sure didn't help this situation.

    And I should note I am a liberal.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:43 pm |
  48. Joe

    Why is it ok to steal from an institution?

    June 30, 2009 at 12:42 pm |
  49. reality check

    I notice that foreign banks are keeping a low profile on this matter. C"mon, Bernie and Ruth, give it up! Misery loves company!

    June 30, 2009 at 12:42 pm |
  50. Tim

    Levine: Narcotics trafficking, securities fraud, racketeering, obstruction of justice, and machine guns. My whole case was organized crime.

    Ok, let me start by saying Madoff pissed me off as well, but when he calls him an economic terrorist, that is like calling the pot calling the kettle black. Face it Mr.Levine, you too are an economic terrorist, only on a smaller scale.

    Drug trafficking, securities fraud, racketeering. C'mon people stop rallying around this ex-con, he is not better than Madoff, his crimes were less intrusive dollar wise.

    Who do you think used the drugs he brought in? Kids maybe?

    Who was hurt by securities fraud? American investors, everyday people in mutual funds, etc.?

    Racketerring? Gee, those people are always nice and well balanced (i.e. loan sharks, strong men, mafioso henchmen who collect protection money from innnocent everyday people, bootleggers, counterfeiters, etc.).

    Yeah, he is real cool, if Bernie rots in hell, I sure would like to see this jack@#$ rot in hell right beside. Go pound salt you piece of garbage ex-con.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:42 pm |
  51. A John

    It sure serves right for Madoff to go for 150 years. He trampled on peoples lives. One question, are those investors really deserving all that sympathy just for showing disregard for their own safety. They are not children or people who do not know the evils of the world. All investors should do their home works well and eavalute risks before jumping into investing. Madoff did not take their money at gun point. They gave him happily for which they only are responsible. Greed might have been a factor. US Govt and US tax payers should never bear any costs by extending any relief to any one who made investments with Madoff. Our money is hard earned for that matter.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:41 pm |
  52. Gary Zydel

    WOW!!! I just wanted to quickly comment on this "character" Larry Levine. Where in the heck did he come from? He looks like a cartoon character...perhaps he could play Dog Chapman's arch enemy on Chapman's show! Anyway, I personally did 62. months in a NYS medium security prison for drug possession. It was no picnic, especially being a 160lb white guy. I agree with Levine's suggestion of keeping to himself (Bernie). I think that anyone...anyone even facing just a year would be afraid. Fear of the unknown is probably the most prevelant fear known to man...

    I disagree with pretty much the rest of Levine's advise. Actually, it seems to me that mBig 'Ole Larry's got a little scam of his own...Offering people facing a prison sentence what he makes seem like objective advise in a totally subjective world...that of being incarcerated. There are too many variables....diferent officers, different "unwritten" rules and so on. One other thing Levine states is that people contact him in an attempt to right some wrongs that may be done to their incarcerated friend, family, etc....that's total BS and should not be believed by anyone!

    I will offer, for FREE, two facts you can take to the bank in prison: 1) the strong survive temporarily 2) the smart, educated inmate survives permanently.....why? Because there is always someone tougher than the toughest....and because intelligence, in every aspect is a highly valued commodity. I never had a beef with anyone, I never received an infraction, I never had anything stolen, never extorted...instead I was respected because I worked for the literacy volunteers, taught people how to read and write. I was the chaplains clerk and was able to move people into different programs. I taught inmates how to use the executive law that covers the DOC to their advantage.

    Obviously bernie is smart. He is also a frail old man. He didn't rape or diddle kids....Use your talents Bernie...Don't try to develop new ones in there. He ran the biggest fraud in history. He should be fine...especially when he realizes how few people have a college education.

    Larry my friend, c'mon....Grow up, cut the typical inmate stereotyping, including the look and all...LOL

    June 30, 2009 at 12:41 pm |
  53. EJP

    He should be put to work while in prison helping to uncover other fraudsters out there. He definitely has the skill set and the know how. We should sqeeze every possible ounce of productivity out of this guy we possibly can so that we stop more people from being defrauded and get some of these guys before all the money's gone.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:41 pm |
  54. babs

    In addition to ripping off individuals, Madoff caused untold damage by destroying non-profit organizations that funded research into Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and other diseases. A curse on Madoff's soul for the harm he's done to people already suffering from these and other diseases whose cures will be delayed.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:40 pm |
  55. drbenk

    Nice article. Larry Levine was very insightful. Couldn't agree more with his final assessment.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:40 pm |
  56. dick delson

    Bernie Madoff is a creep. I read a story today about a woman who lost all her money because of him. She now "exists" by selling recyclables. He should never, ever, get out of jail.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:40 pm |
  57. Andrew

    Mr. Levine's label of economic terrorist is the best explanation of Madoff's criminal activities. How much different is Madoff than a serial killer? When you take into account the harm he has done to future generations of current Madoff investors the repercussions are staggering. And the fact that he won't implicate anyone else compounds the grief to all involved in this high class hustle.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:40 pm |
  58. Gary Jaussaud

    Gary's Comment is:

    Mr. Madoff is where he belongs and he earned his place by hurting
    so many people, it would have been better if he had killed them, at
    least they would not suffer as now they will for the rest of their life.

    Mrs. Madoff and his children need to be in prison with him, as you must know they all had to know what was going on, at least they
    enjoyed the money, and tried to hide it when things got tuff.

    If this country is hard on crime like this perhaps the next person will
    think twice about stealing from people and hurting their life.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:39 pm |
  59. Kyle

    Ironically enough the people he ripped off (along with the rest of us) are going to be paying his rent through our tax dollars.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:37 pm |
  60. BB

    Joseph – I think you're missing the point . How many ppl in your low-security prison/camp had sentences of 150 years?

    Regarding Levine's statement, if it were an acceptable crime, it wouldn't be a crime.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:37 pm |
  61. Joe

    "Narcotics trafficking, securities fraud, racketeering, obstruction of justice, and machine guns."

    And this guy thinks he's better than Madoff? Funny to hear a mobster talk about what is acceptable crime and what is not acceptable crime, especially in light of his own. Glad he finally found someone low enough to feel self righteous but give me a break.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:37 pm |
  62. Stalmaster

    That guy is badass! Love em! Like to know ore about him.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:36 pm |
  63. Bob in Kansas City

    I hope he is terrified! I am sure there are a few that he scammed out of thier retirement are pretty terrified of how they will live their final years in retirement of Social Security instead of the supplement their retirement was to provide them. There is no sympathy afforded Maddof and the others who helped him as everyone knows he was incapable of this ponzi scheme without accomplices.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:36 pm |
  64. Jane

    I agree that Bernie should of got the 150 yrs but why not hard labor just because of his age? Make those soft hands dig ditches! If his wife was his bookkeeper for forty years don't tell me she knew nothing about this? Send her to the pokie too!
    As far as the folks that lost "all" their retirement I am sorry but anytime you invest is no indication you will gain money. Its a gamble. Why put all your money in one pot? There is a reason investors say diversify to spread the risk. Hope you get most of you money back.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:36 pm |
  65. Curious

    Interesting...I quote:

    "Levine: Narcotics trafficking, securities fraud, racketeering, obstruction of justice, and machine guns. My whole case was organized crime."

    A little further down he says:

    "Bernie hurt people. He hurt people individually and I refuse to help people like that. Let him rot in hell."

    So I get this straight – Narcotics trafficking...and machine guns don't "hurt" people individually and are available for "help"...and being an "economic terrorist" is better?

    This is the problem – society in general STILL views drug crimes/trafficking, etc. as "victimless" crimes. I betcha I could find a couple of families (please note the sarcasm) that have lost a loved one to drugs that would probably disagree with me.

    Put me on CNN – I would have plenty to say. Oh yeah – I'm an ex-con too.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:35 pm |
  66. Rudy

    Madoff has an option. Cooperate fully not matter waht the implication and how close the enablers were with you and your prison life will emd up with amenities and several excursions and walks of contemplation in the park. The judge knew what he was doing by imposing a sentence to perpetuity. It is up to Bernie to limit the effects. of that sentence. Please the authorities and you get some benefit.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:34 pm |
  67. William Hsu

    I have a lot of respect for Mr Levine, to have committed crimes, spent a lot of time in jail, and be smart enough to turn that into an advantage. Moreover to have the ethics to not help Mr Madoff Bravo!

    June 30, 2009 at 12:34 pm |
  68. Dave

    This guy has no leg to stand on he trafficked narcotics and guns who were you supporting pal... Terrorists. Who were you hurting individuals lots of them... Madoff sucks too I guess this guy is the lesser of two evils.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:33 pm |
  69. oneshot

    I agree w/Joseph & Jim Powell above..I dated an ex-con who did his 4 yrs w/2 attorneys, 1 in for insur fraud, 1 in for interstate drug trafficking....none of them had their lives threatened; it was like Joseph said, putt-putt golf & reading; he's got 2.5 mil thru his wife; (everybody wanted legal advice & in Madoff's case, he's got $$ & financial advise – crooks abound in the board rooms, folks); they stuck together afterwards too..he'll just be rotting in he// but won't be threatened as Levine says.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:33 pm |
  70. travnelson

    now only they can do this to carl rove and george bush!!

    June 30, 2009 at 12:32 pm |
  71. brett ross

    So Larry Levine sold or ran guns–& narcotics? And those guns didn't kill anyone? Give me a break this guy is scum just like Madoff. In the end Levine and Madoff both hurt people, Madoff just a more.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:32 pm |
  72. ccb

    Honor among thieves!

    I tried to have some sympathy for Bernie I can't do it. His poor wife is left "broke" with only 2.5 million and no friends; can't find sympothy for her either.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:32 pm |
  73. Jose

    If Bernie had stolen a much smaller amount, he most likely would go under the radar in the hole; but since it's Bernie and he is the poster boy for Wall Street's greed and corruption, every con who has had a hard life growing up is going to want to take a crack at him. I give him 30 days before they have to put him in isolation because of the threats on his life...

    June 30, 2009 at 12:32 pm |
  74. Ward Cleaver

    As Donald Trump said...

    The people who lost all their money in Madoff's scheme were victims of their own greed just as much as they were victims of Bernie Madoff.
    People with dollar signs in their eyes who put all their eggs in one basket (Madoff's basket) trying to reap unrealistically high profits.

    An old rule of thumb among con-men is that a person first has to be greedy in order for the con-man to be able to rip them off.

    So, I don't have any sympathy for Madoff's once wealthy, greedy victims either.


    June 30, 2009 at 12:30 pm |
  75. HairySnatch

    screw simon cowell, larry levine is my american idol!

    June 30, 2009 at 12:30 pm |
  76. Rick

    Unfortunately I don't think he is tough enough to last very long in prison. Keep in mind this is one brilliant guy. I abhor everything he has done, but financial genius in jail is just a waste.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:30 pm |
  77. Vincent

    I read Mr. Levin's comments and althought he speaks the truth in some sense, a lot of what he had to say had a lot of sensationalism to it. Yes, Ol' Bennie will be sent to a Med Security Facility, but life will not be too hard for him. I know. I've spent time in a FDC (dentention Center), Med Facility and a camp. The rappist, murders, etc.. are in Med Facilities but they have worked their to that level based on their behavior. Therefore, the majority are just trying to do their time. Bennie will have access to an inmate store that on the Federal level compare to the state level is not that bad. He will have access to cable TV and weekly videos. There are ice machines, microwaves and numerous activities to keep him occupied. And if granted, because of his education, he will be assigned a "juice job" granting him further favors. So, while he might not be familiar with cell living, he will be able to manage.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:29 pm |
1 2