Madoff's Victims: What They Say About Swindler
Some of Bernard Madoff's victims got a chance to speak in court today when the financier pled guilty to eleven charges stemming from his alleged $64 billion Ponzi scheme.
But some victims who showed up did not speak out, in spite of their lingering questions.
Debra Schwartz didn't speak in court but did so to reporters. She says she had invested her retirement savings through Family Management, a feeder fund, lost two-thirds of her money to Madoff.
“I had gotten an email Friday morning, December 12, and I don’t normally look at my emails early in the morning but before I went to the gym I said ‘Oh, let me go check it out’ and there it was,” said Schwartz, recalling the moment she learned of Madoff’s scheme. “It was devastating, cried through my whole work out that morning, and I was in shock for a couple of days.
Although she says she views her loss as a challenge, rather than a problem, she admits that there is one thing she would like to know from Madoff.
“I would love to know how he thinks that he was going to get away with all of this and if he ever stopped to think about how many thousands of people’s lives he’s affected,” Schwartz said.
Another Madoff victim fooled by a feeder fund, Steve Heimoff, lost $1.5 million. Despite the initial feelings of shock and betrayal, he says he feels no malice towards Madoff.
“It really wouldn’t do me any good, either emotionally or financially, to harbor rancor or hatred toward him,” said Heimoff. “And besides I believe in our system of justice and I hope that our judge will do the right thing as he sees fit.”
Jesse Cohen, another of Madoff's countless victims, felt that justice was served in the courtroom when the judge reprimanded bail for the swindler.
"That was probably the only moment I felt a little joy and I was very happy to see him be put in cuffs," said Cohen. "That’s sort of why I came here and I got a little pleasure out of that for a few moments, watching the cuffs go on."
Although he feels that the case is progressing, there are still two things he feels are necessary to repair the damage Madoff caused.
"We’re just scratching the surface, we’re just getting started. The big step is going to be to try to get the money back, to try to get whatever we can back and to try to find out why the SEC was not on top of this," Cohen said. "It’s going to be a long fight and we have to try to figure that out."