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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Prison sentence inadequate punishment for scam artist

    As the mastermind behind the single largest fraudulent investment scam in history, former NASDAQ chairman Bernard Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison on June 29. Surely his victims will find no solace in the ruling, as their savings have been completely wiped out. His time in prison does not replenish his victim’s nest eggs. So if a penitentiary can’t provide justice, what can?

    Although the Eighth Amendment prohibits it, I’m advocating for a cruel and unusual punishment for Madoff.

    Let him out.

    Keeping an elderly man in prison is keeping him on the taxpayer’s payroll. The jig is up. Madoff isn’t a threat to society anymore. Conversely, society is a threat to Madoff.

    In prison, Madoff is safe from the collective ire of all the investors, failed non-profits, desperately underfunded charities and indirect counterparties. He doesn’t strike me as the type of prisoner to pace in his cell and engage in heavy introspection. Instead, we should implement a rehabilitation plan that can teach a 71-year-old fraud some life skills.

    Things like the virtue of trust. We will introduce to Madoff the concept of trust as the idea of keeping your word and creating meaningful relationships. Not as a mechanism to con people out of their money. René-Theirry Magon de la Villehuchet and William Foxton were two former investors that committed suicide when they lost their fortune. Both of them trusted you, Bernard.

    Madoff also needs to learn the value of a dollar. This real-world exercise provides him with one dollar to start with, and his goal is to turn it into $65 billion. He would be fitted with an electronic ankle bracelet, but there’s a twist. The tracking bracelet is not for his probation officer to monitor – it’s available to the general public. There is an added degree of difficulty with this exercise: no Ponzi schemes.

    Finally, it isn’t too late for Mr. Madoff to take a workshop on ethics and accountability. In the absurd remote possibility that he acted alone in this scam, than forgive the accusatory tone of this suggestion. But Bernard, you are already ostracized from the aristocracy; you now have an obligation to come clean about everybody who knows about the inner-workings of the swindle. This includes your wife Ruth, who denies wrongdoing but is rumored to be so close to her husband that she wouldn’t allow him to be alone on business trips.

    Also, your two sons who turned you in, perhaps as the fall guy. After all, life in prison is a smaller price to pay for someone in their seventies than for two brothers in their forties. And as for the countless other relatives and high ranking executives at Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, they too need to atone for their actions. The Securities and Exchange Commission might want to sit-in on the “”government accountability”” session of this workshop.

    Or we could scrap the whole rehabilitation plan and let him live out his days shunned by society. With the unemployment rate nearing double digits, it’s very difficult to find work – especially something that could satisfy his formerly lavish lifestyle. And sorry Bernie, you need to prove you’ve had a legitimate job before you can collect unemployment.

    – Jayge Ross is a pre-business junior. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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