Madoff sentence means little to fmr. investors

July 1, 2009 5:58:42 PM PDT
Dollars and dollars and dollars. When Susan Letter of Mill Valley looked at her statements from Bernard Madoff, every month, the growth seemed too good to be true.

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Now she knows the reality behind all those profits.

"They went to money heaven," Letter said.

Madoff is going to jail for the rest of his life, but for so many victims, that is small consolation, because for most of them, the troubles are still coming.

For Letter, it is a nightmare. She can barely afford to pay her mortgage. Monday morning, she worked to file a hardship claim that might help speed money from the securities investor protection corporation.

"Well, most people expect this to be tied up in lawsuits for years," Letter said.

In court Monday, Madoff listened to his victims, and spoke to them. Besides apologizing, he said, "I couldn't accept the fact that for once in my life, I failed."

"The crime is in the cover-up," Mark Edwards said.

Edwards worked on Wall Street when Madoff made legitimate millions running a trading firm. Nobody loses money on purpose, he says. But Edwards also expects we will see more from this case.

"It would be mind boggling to think that nobody else knew," he said. "They sent out literally hundreds of thousands of pages of monthly statements and most of that information was made up. One person can't do that."

And now, Madoff's investors deal in the present, while cursed by the past. When struggling to survive, revenge hardly matters.

"There was a life before this happened and a life after this happened," Letter said. "It's like having some horrible accident; you try to adjust as best you can."

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