JAILHOUSE INTERVIEW

Madoff Lived in Fear

Convicted Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff didn't think much of the SEC, but even he was stunned that they missed so many opportunities to catch him. In a prison interview released by the SEC's inspector general, David Kotz, Madoff said investigators hassled him over minor email exchanges while failing to examine basic questions about how he conducted his business. In particular, he was stunned never to have been asked about his Wall Street central clearinghouse account: “If you’re looking at a Ponzi scheme, it’s the first thing you do,” he said. Madoff described being constantly worried that the jig was up whenever dealing with investigators and two close calls in 2004 and 2006 had him convinced he was going to jail—only they passed without incident. “That was the nightmare I lived with,” he said. “I wish they caught me six years ago, eight years ago.”