"I’m a good person.”
That’s what infamous Wall Street swindler Bernie Madoff — now serving a 150-year prison sentence — told New York Magazine in a series of taped interviews from prison released this week, showing little remorse for his victims.
It is the second jailhouse interview Madoff, 72, has given. The first was to The New York Times, in which he accused banks of knowing what he was up to.
In the New York Magazine audio interviews, which allows the public to hear his voice for the first time, Madoff, 72, claims the intense public scrutiny after the stunning collapse of his $65 billion Ponzi scheme has left him feeling misunderstood.
Attorney Howard Kleinhendler of Manhattan who represents several victims said he deplored the way Madoff is spinning the media.
“The notion that Madoff is a good guy and all his victims were greedy is just adding insult to injury,” Kleinhendler said.
Below is some of what Madoff had to say.
On acting honorably: “Look, I tried to give moneys back to my individual clients when I realized it was impossible to get myself out. I tried to return funds to my friends, moneys to the smaller clients. They wouldn’t take it back … .”
On his life as a swindler: “It was a nightmare for me. It was only a nightmare for me. It’s horrible. When I say nightmare, imagine carrying this secret.”
On what happened to investors: “Look, none of my clients, even if they lost every penny they put in there, can plead poverty. Look, it doesn’t mean I’m excusing what I did, doesn’t mean I don’t feel sorry for them.”
On the suicide of his son, Mark, in December: “Let me tell you, I cried for well over two weeks. I cried and cried. I didn’t come out of my room. I didn’t speak to anybody, and so on.”
On his wife, Ruth: “My wife, quite frankly, doesn’t forgive me for what I did. But at least she understood. You know, I guess, they say for better or for worse.”