Friday, August 14, 2009

Why are we not surprised? Madoff swindle victim says she and con man had an affair

When all your life's savings as well as your family's investments are wiped out with the exposure of Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme, you have to get creative to earn some cash quickly. That could be the thinking behind Sheryl Weinstein's upcoming book, “Madoff’s Other Secret: Love, Money, Bernie, and Me,” which will be published Aug. 25 by St. Martin’s Press.
ABC News/ Sheryl Weinstein

ABC News/ Sheryl Weinstein

Weinstein told Madoff's sentencing judge that she met Madoff 21 years ago when she was chief financial office at Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America Inc. At Madoff's June 29 sentencing hearing, the one that landed him a 150-year sentence for executing the largest Ponzi scheme in history, the certified public accountant called him a beast who “has fed upon us to satisfy his own needs. No matter how much he takes and from whom he takes, he is never satisfied. He is an equal opportunity destroyer.”

She also told the judge that she considers the day she met Madoff "the unluckiest day of my life because of the many events set into motion that would eventually have the most profound and devastating effect on me, my husband, my child, my parents, my in-laws and all of those who depended on us."

One of nine victims to testify at the hearing, Weinstein said she and her husband of 37 years, Ronald, were forced to sell their Upper East Side home and had "lost everything." Madoff, 71, was arrested in December and pleaded guilty in March to running a $65 billion Ponzi scheme, which paid new victims with funds "invested" by new clients. No funds were ever invested in anything but the Madoffs' luxurious lifestyle.

Weinstein spoke with the media on a few occasions about Madoff but never mentioned the affair. What other incentive to go public with an alleged affair could there be but to stir up enough interest in her ghost-written book (224 pages, $24) in the hopes it will be a Madoff tell-all many will want to read? It's hard to blame her, and it's difficult to know how we'd respond if someone we knew intimately had swindled us out of our families' present and future. So, is this a good kind of revenge?

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