- Bernie Madoff is one of the biggest white-collar criminals in history.
- For about a decade, he’s been serving a 150-year sentence in federal prison for offenses related to a major Ponzi scheme.
- In the video above, Harvard professor Eugene Soltes explains what Madoff’s life is like behind bars.
Eugene Soltes is a professor at Harvard Business School as well as the author of “Why They Do It,” which focuses on white-collar crime. He spent seven years speaking with some of the biggest white-collar criminals in history including Bernie Madoff. Here he discusses what Madoff’s life is like behind bars.
Eugene Soltes: Life for Bernie Madoff in prison isn’t as bad as you would expect perhaps. He’s actually very well respected in prison. To the extent that you’re going to go to prison, people respect people who have done bigger things, and there is no bigger white-collar offender than Bernie Madoff.
So people look up to him as the financial guru. The person you go to to actually get financial advice.
One of Madoff’s jobs in prison has been running the commissary. So, it’s the place where inmates go to purchase a variety of food items. Things like ramen noodles, a variety of flavours, or to buy a pair of sneakers, flip-flops to wear in the shower, or maybe even a watch.
Bernie lives a pretty simple life now, being stuck in prison but he’s a voracious reader. There is no one that reads the paper more carefully, listens to every radio show, digests every piece of news more carefully than Bernie does about himself and his case. But he actually spends a significant amount of time meeting with lawyers. He has appointments every, every week with lawyers flying in from around the world that are actually trying to better understand his case in part to look at some of the proceeds and some of the receivership about getting money back.Produced by Eames YatesEDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published May 22, 2017.
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