Belmont Club

Fear and gloating

Bye-bye Bernie. Bernie Madoff’s victims lined up to get a glimpse of the disgraced financier as he headed for the courtroom to plead guilty.

Helen Chaitman, 67, a lawyer from New Jersey who lost $3 million, said she was surprised Madoff looked human. “It’s extraordinary to look at a man that’s caused such devastation and to see that he’s got two arms, two legs, one head and yet he’s done all of this to so many people.”

Who do people blame when the world turns upside down in a second? When they’ve only got a couple of months money to live on after thinking they had millions safe in a fund? Some people blamed the system.

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For others, there was no comfort in clinging to the hope that things would still turn out well; that the cavalry would come riding over the hill.  Some believed that even his guilty plea was part of a cover-up, so no questions could be asked of the man who knew where all the bodies were buried. It was one of those things. Some of the victims who thronged the court for a look at the man who ruined them may have allowed themselves a moment of gloating as Madoff’s bail was rescinded and he was led off to jail. It was an unworthy thrill. But at least it was free.

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