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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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jcgnyc February 10 2014 at 11:39 AM

I feel so sorry for Mr. Shapiro.....let him "eat cake" like the rest of us.

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1 reply
Diane jcgnyc February 10 2014 at 12:26 PM

What really gives me a bad taste in my mouth with Mr. Shapiro is that he didn't leave the house for 30 days, lost 30 pounds, sold his house & got a divorce BECAUSE OF MONEY. He did not get diagnosed with a terminal illness. He did not have a heart attack or a stroke. MONEY. He was able to sell his house---it wasn't foreclosed on like millions of people's houses have been since 2008. He didn't lose his job like millions of people have. He recovered 50% of his losses---were those "losses" what he invested or what his supposed returns were? This is the epitome of greed. Anyone investing with someone & getting 20% has to know that it is EXTREMELY risky, since no one else was getting anywhere near those returns. When you play with fire, there is a huge risk that you're going to get burned. If you're willing to play a risky game, then you can't get too upset when you lose. Anyone that invests 80% of their net worth in one place---which is an extremely risky place---is just stupid. But Mr. Shapiro's reactions & explanation of what happened to his life is very distasteful to me----this stuff is happening everyday to millions of people that don't have any money to invest. I'd love to know how much the 20% of his net worth was that he kept, & how much he got from selling his claims where he recouped 50%. I'm sure he's not worrying about putting food on the table, like millions of others are doing. Instead of being such a greedy pig, maybe he should help out those MUCH less fortunate than himself. Perhaps that would give his life some purpose, rather than worrying about what the balance of his account is at the end of the closing on Wall Street on a daily basis.

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d1anaw February 10 2014 at 9:55 AM

So this highly intelligent business man is blaming someone else for not doing his own due dilligence? What's that addage, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is?

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mphseason February 10 2014 at 12:11 PM

I truly hope Bernie lives to be 200 yrs old. That way he can watch society pass him by, and he will have been just another brick in the wall. Ask any of these people whom were wrongly convicted and freed, what the taste of freedom is, and what it is like to walk back in to society after many many years behind bars...imo

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CHARLIE GENE February 10 2014 at 9:47 AM

dumb: yyyyyyyyyuuuuuuuuuupppppppaaaaaaaaaaa when you get greedy

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kkarenpeda February 10 2014 at 9:39 AM

When are most of you going to realize that this Repubs versus Dems politicians argument is pure BS. Neither party gives at ratsa** about any of you. They both play for the same team! Wake up!

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1 reply
jloeffl kkarenpeda February 10 2014 at 10:19 AM

I once told a very liberal friend the difference between a Rep and a Dem--nothing. The Reps take from the middle and give to the rich; the Dems take from the middle and give to the poor. If you are in the middle, there is no difference.

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ebody70 February 10 2014 at 9:24 AM

Your right Arnold , Like the saying goes If it sounds to good to be true , It usually is not true

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blkvending February 10 2014 at 9:19 AM

I hope now people will stop talking about anti-semitism. Majority of Madoff's clients were his own people.

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nevadan99 February 10 2014 at 10:59 AM

Greed gets you every time, sooner or later. If it sounds to good to be true, it usually is. I speak from experience.

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bri71666 February 10 2014 at 12:18 PM

Madoff ruined peoples lives and he gets 150 years. Wallstreet crooks ruined many more lives and they get nothing! Our government is a joke!

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1 reply
forkliftman53 bri71666 February 10 2014 at 12:22 PM

your proof is what

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2 replies
prante forkliftman53 February 10 2014 at 12:36 PM

The credit default swap, a derivative, was the first time you could insure a property that you didn't own. It's llike an insurance policy against losses. These guys then realized they would make more money off the insurance so they started giving $600K mortgages to guys that cleaned pools. When the bundle of mortgages in that traunch hit 7%, it was considered in default. Cha Ching. Most of those CDS's were insured at AIG. Well orchestrated after years f working to pull down the regulations. That's why GOP hates regulation, or rules to financial sectors.

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seattlewkr forkliftman53 February 10 2014 at 1:02 PM

Proof's ALL OVER THE PAPERS and in our lower account worths, genius.

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galvin1105 February 10 2014 at 12:25 PM

He's not the only financial rapist out there. When I retired I showed my portfolio to my best girl friend's husband who I have known for many years. He was so jealous at what I had accumulated that he wanted my to come to work for him in his STUPID brokerage firm - and of course, bring all of your money with you!

I have never spoken to him or her again. Your best friends and your closest family members are very jealous if you have something. And they want to take it away from you!! They never have enough of their own money, so they want to take yours IF THEY CAN.

Watch out, I was almost blind sided by this scammer!

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1 reply
hedunlap galvin1105 February 10 2014 at 1:21 PM

Maybe their was a reason why your "girlfriends husband" wanted to take all your money. Just sayin...

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