Ponzi convict Bernie Madoff has angered many victims by stating, “I feel safer in (prison) here.”
The former American stockbroker has “terrible remorse” for having “ruined his family” but is “happier in prison” than he was on the outside, according to Barbara Walters of ABC, and downplays the severity of his crimes.
In a “Good Morning America” appearance on Thursday, Walters said that her jailhouse interview with Madoff revealed that he’s more at ease now than he was during his last 20 years of freedom.
“He says that while he was in jail, during the four months before he was sent to prison, he did think about suicide, but he didn’t have the courage,” said Walters, who interviewed Bernie Madoff about two weeks ago. “But now he says, in prison, he never thinks about it. He’s happier in prison.”
Madoff, who cheated more than 16,000 investors out of about $20 billion, also downplayed the magnitude of his crime, according to Walters.
“The average person thinks I robbed widows and orphans,” said Walters, paraphrasing Bernie. “[But] I made wealthy people wealthier.”
The existence of Bernie Madoff appears to be less stressful, compared to running the largest pyramid-style scheme in history, according to Walters’ observations.
“I feel safer here than outside,” said Walters, paraphrasing comments from her interview with Bernie at the Butner Federal Correctional Complex in North Carolina, where he is serving a 150-year sentence. “I have people to talk to, no decisions to make. I know I will die in prison. I lived the last 20 years of my life in fear. Now I have no fear because I’m no longer in control.”
“He says the other prisoners treat him with great respect, especially the young ones, he says, but they do this for all the wrong reasons,” said Walters. “But he has a routine, and for the first time in his life he’s not afraid of being arrested.”
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