Bernie Madoff told Barbara Walters of ABC television that while he suffers from “horrible nightmares” in his North Carolina prison cell and feels despair over his estrangement from family members, he “can live with” the anger of people he defrauded.
“Not seeing my family and knowing they hate me” is the worst thing about being in prison, Madoff said. “I betrayed them.” Asked what he’d like to tell his grandchildren, he said: “I am sorry to have caused them pain.” The Madoffs’ oldest son Mark committed suicide in December 2010, the second anniversary of his father’s arrest.
Madoff, 73, was sentenced to 150 years in prison for running a Ponzi scheme that bilked $65 billion from almost 10,000 investors.
An investigation found Madoff never made any investments; instead he used the money from new investors to pay returns to existing clients — and to finance a lavish lifestyle for his family.
Madoff’s comments come ahead of his wife’s appearance on this Sunday’s edition of CBS'”60 Minutes.”
Ruth Madoff said, in the interview with Morley Safer, the pair made a suicide pact deciding to kill themselves on Christmas Eve 2008, shortly after the fraud was exposed. They used a combination of the sedative Ambien and the anti-anxiety medication Klonopin – both went to bed, but they woke up the next morning.
A court-appointed trustee is trying to recover money for investors defrauded in the Ponzi scheme, a fraud in which early investors are paid with money from new ones. The schemes often collapse when sufficient investors can’t be lined up or when a number of investors want to cash out.