Anybody outraged by Bernie Madoff's trespasses against honor, financial responsibility, and friendship can take satisfaction that he's now under house arrest, totally unable to leave his seven million dollar apartment.
Yep, he's suffering. He's probably sitting there right now, head in hands, thinking, how can I possibly atone for having ripped off my investors like that?
Well, it emerged yesterday that he has been atoning by mailing over a million dollars worth of diamond-encrusted watches, diamond brooches, cuff links, and necklaces to his relatives.
His lawyers claimed that this was all an honest mistake, and that "to Mr. and Mrs. Madoff, the value of these items was purely sentimental." (That's why they call them lawyers.)
I understand. I feel that same sentimental attachment to my own (meager) holdings of stocks and bonds.
It also emerged yesterday that Sonja Kohn, the head of Bank Medici in Austria, has gone into hiding. Turns out that a large chunk of the $2.1 billion Medici had invested with Bernie Madoff actually belonged to Russian oligarchs.
This is not a crowd it seems wise to displease. When you scam your Palm Beach golfing buddies, they vent their wrath by speaking ill of you to the press and blackballing you from their clubs. The Russians tend to express their displeasure in more old-fashioned ways.
One can only wonder if the Russian Mafia might have been attempting to launder their money through Madoff; they tend to be really old-school.
Then again, they can consider their money successfully laundered at this point, even if most of it ended up in Bernie's special lint trap.