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Man recounts losing nearly everything to Madoff's ponzi scheme

Man Recounts Harrowing Experience After Bernie Madoff Ponzi Scheme

The Bernie Madoff scandal came to light over five years ago in December of 2008. The $65B ponzi scheme came crashing down and jailed Madoff -- but half a decade later, people are still feeling the pain.

Katie Couric spoke with Richard Shapiro, who lost 80 percent of his net worth. He said the first 30 days were so awful that he didn't leave the house much. He ended up losing 30 pounds, putting his house on the market and getting a divorce.

Shapiro explained that he already had a personal account through Madoff, but he wanted a pension account too, so he called 'Uncle Bernie.' He felt like he was one of the chosen ones when he was accepted.

The Wall Street Journa also spoke with Shapiro, who explained that he'd been in the commercial real estate business his entire life. He opened up about calling a friend to confirm Madoff was involved in a ponzi scheme: ''Are you telling me all my money's gone?' And his answer was, 'it looks that way.'I became depressed, I panicked, what was I going to do? How was I going to pay my bills? How was I going to do everything? What would I have left?'

Shapiro says he ultimately ended up selling his claims. He doesn't know exactly know how much he got back, but he estimated maybe 50 percent. He also called Madoff a 'financial rapist.'

Shapiro said this event was so earth shattering, he doesn't know if he can ever get past what happened. Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison.

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pawelrirl March 24 2014 at 8:48 AM

Looks good

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portaltester09 March 24 2014 at 7:51 AM

Looks good

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nguyenh4 March 24 2014 at 7:48 AM


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The Canoli King February 10 2014 at 6:23 PM

I can not feel Sympathic,and definately not empathic to someone,or anybody that want's to gamble almost all their wealth to be even more wealthier. The word "GREED" resounds in my mind when I hear about all these well-to-doer's cry after they GAMBLED,and lost. This guy is hardly broke,and I would be glad to switch bank accounts with him. Be glad your not entirely kicked to the curb,and homeless. Please tell your story to someone that could give a shiiiit.

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1 reply to The Canoli King's comment
Hi Sandra February 10 2014 at 8:09 PM

Why did you read this article? You say you have no sympathy, no empathy, you feel nothing for the greedy people, so I have to ask, why did you read this story? Just feel the need to hate? As far as I know, no one asked you for your sympathy, your empathy and no one asked you to feel sorry for them. For someone that doesn'tgive a "shiiiit", you seem to!

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hedunlap February 10 2014 at 5:48 PM

But this A-wipe was ok with "Uncle Bernie" ripping off other people so he could get his 24% interest.

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sonofra1 February 10 2014 at 5:31 PM

I've said it once... I've said it a thousand times, there needs to be a Federal law that is called "Economic Sabotage", and it should be a capital offense just like high treason, and further, it should have very limited (if any) automatic appeals with a mandate that the death sentence is carried out no later than eighteen months after conviction on that charge. When an individual or individuals engage in ANY crime that involves (at this witting) a sum of more than 100 million dollars, the damage they do is so far reaching as to effect not only individuals or companies, but has a ripple effect on local, state, and even national aspect of the American economy. Further still, the people who do these crimes are FULLY aware of it. The damage they do far exceeds the simple act of theft and deception, these acts harm and destroy jobs, companies, investments, business credibility, it crashes marriages and families, and destroys people. In no small terms, these criminals are easily as dangerous as any enemy spy, and perhaps, even more so. No one can give me one good reason why Madoff (or anyone like him) should not be executed and their entire assets confiscated ...that would be justice. Madoff was not only a simple crook, he was an enemy to the entire republic and everyone in it and no better than the worse traitor.

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georgii1 February 10 2014 at 4:36 PM

Well, if he feels not different from the many that had custodian IRAs with regular brokerage firms. Those folks also worked all their lives and saw their pension funds did a 50% drop too. Darn shame, but at least Madoff went to jail.

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sonofra1 February 10 2014 at 6:16 PM

At least he went to jail ...you're right. But I'd feel a whole lot better knowing the tax-payer's dollars were not being spent to keep this miserable excuse for a human in prison one more day ...I'd feel MUCH better if they had done the RIGHT thing and hanged him.

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haynonnie February 10 2014 at 3:40 PM

talking about stealing , look at what the taxpayers are footing the bill for in other countries Hamas 351-m, russia, 380-m, sudan 870-m Ethiopia- 981-m
seenegal 698-m, Kazakhstan, 304-m, Libya,1.45-b,
haiti 1.45-b, Nigeria, 456-m, Pakistan, 2-b, Mozambique, 404-m, Egypt, 397-m, Jordan, 463-m Uganda, 451-m, S Africa, 566-m, Iraq, 1.08-b, Mexico, 622-m, Kenya, 816-m, congo, 359-m, Zambia, 331-m, Tanzania, 554-m these are dollars and
( we are borrowing from China) and we have folks in this country who are hardly making ends meet When are we going to get someone in office who has any common sense?

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phantheon February 10 2014 at 3:22 PM

Once more a reference to hard work equals earning power. Well perhaps a while ago yes, but not anymore. Those days are long gone. Just ask today's students that want to study and must get a loan for it. By the time they will be done the debt to repay is disproportionate to the cause. I challenge several of the commentators of which I read opinions earlier to fully recognize if they truly are living the American dream today. Those few that maybe do are very vigilant and aware of the dangers facing our economic system today. The remainder that believe they also do , may want to seriously look at their debt structure carefully, for a minor slip may quickly turn into true financial chaos. Many American families have experienced it sadly and swiftly without deliberate accountability on their part. I read a comment for 99% somewhere as if being part of American Society and not the 1% Financial Oligarchy currently ruling the Nation, is unacceptable or demeaning in nature. Lets remember that the concept of "middle class" is dwindling away like a the Drive Through Theaters or the Roller Skating Diners of the 1960's. Soon there shall be no Middle Class at all anymore. Everything points to look at the poor, the abusers of the systems with all these benefits and freebies provided by the Government, alas its a carefully designed deception. It forces the arrow downward in society so that we do not look upward and really see what is going on. The financial inequality in America today has passed every conceivable notion that forces these Madoff incidents, for there are many more doing the same thing today and they just haven't been caught yet. Meanwhile to feed the problem that the Market creates more and more benefits to teachers, policemen and firemen are reduced. More cuts to schools, welfare assistance and infrastructure with the excuse of a competitive world market are proposed. More profits are made by banking on debt and default than financing production or manufacturing. Its only a matter of time for the few left to really see the big picture and it shall become very clear by the next Presidential election. Careful for what some of you are wishing because you will not like it once you get it and it will be too late to turn back then..... A concerned American

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sonofra1 February 10 2014 at 6:02 PM

When we failed to teach our children "how" our system of government and economics are really intended to work, we paved the road to the destruction of our economy, our way of life, and our very liberty. We do not teach proper civics in schools, we do not teach about the realalities of how industry works or the importance of food production (agriculture). How many adult Americans (let alone American students) understand that our agricultural ability and output is only second to our nuclear arsenal in terms of national security? Few... VERY few. How can citizens act in a politicaly responsible manner, or police their political and economic system when they do not even grasp how it actualy works, and worse yet, have no understanding of their rights and the reason the U.S. Bill Of Rights is and should always be "inviolate" document? America has failed, either through political apathy or political ignorance, or worse by pure cynical arrogance, to pass on the American spirit. We are raising a nation of weak, unrealistic, and politicaly ignorant and passive citizens who more concered with their next "Smart Phone" than the background or actions of the persons they elect to run the most powerful nation on earth.

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phantheon February 10 2014 at 6:48 PM

I applaud your sense of awareness, candid remarks and clear thinking Sonofra1 and await for the soon to be coming political and economical dilemma that we shall witness very soon. No quick fix or easy solution of this situation.

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Sire February 10 2014 at 2:30 PM

And who is in better position to do due diligence than this guy who lost 80%? He has access to respurces the most of us do not. Cry me a river.

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