I was always taught to do the right thing. As a kid, I did my homework, brushed my teeth and respectively called adults “Mr.” and “Mrs.”. As an adult, I continued to do the right thing. I worked hard, saved my money, prepared for my future and paid my taxes. I did everything right. Except, I did make one mistake-I trusted that my government would protect the money I worked so hard to save. I trusted that the SEC would monitor and oversee Bernard Madoff so that his customers would be financially secure. The taxes I paid helped to fund the salaries of the very agency that dropped the ball and allowed a fraud to grow to monumental proportions. That is inexcusable.
On his first full day in office, President Obama made the profound statement, “The Way to make government responsible is to hold them accountable.” This spoke volumes to me.
Bernard Madoff is a thief and a liar, but the SEC must take enormous responsibility in this financial debacle. The manipulative, smirking sociopath and former Nasdaq chairman has victimized more than just my husband and me. But, the SEC has also victimized us all. Anger does not begin to describe how I feel as I watch our lives and our future collapse around us. And this anger, rage, frustration, humiliation, extends beyond us to all of our fellow victims. The anger is not just at Mr. Madoff, it’s also at our government.
Judge Chin, you have the opportunity today to make the government responsible and to instill confidence back in our financial markets. You can make the SEC accountable. You can ascertain that ALL who have been contributory to Madoff’s diabolical fraud are investigated and held responsible. You can ascertain that all the monies they have illegally accumulated are frozen and then returned to the people who have been devastated in this fraud.
If it is found that no one is complicit in the fraud, then at the least case, the assets of Peter Madoff, Mark Madoff, Andrew Madoff and Ruth Madoff should also be frozen and then returned to the victims. After all, they drew their income from BLMIS and as such, those monies are fraudulent.
Prior to accepting any plea from Mr. Madoff, I implore you to ascertain that all monies he may have hidden or redirected to others be traced and accounted for. Again, these funds belong to the victims and must be returned to them.
It appears that Madoff has manipulated the public for years. He obviously manipulated the SEC also. He has manipulated the legal system -was his bail money paid with illegal funds?, did he not transfer $1 million dollars worth of jewelry to family and friends after he was under house arrest and his funds were frozen?, did his wife secure a homestead exemption in Florida 1 month after he was arrested? I fear that this man has the capacity to continue to manipulate the court system with false information. Judge Chin, you are not in an enviable position. I hope you can take all the above facts in this surreal case and apply them the same way you will apply the legal facts. This man created a huge void in the financial markets of our country at a time when they were already faltering. He shattered any confidence that investors may have had to invest in our country. How can they, knowing that they are not protected by the SEC? The damage of this is monumental.
In addition, he created a huge void in the IRS system. The taxes that the victims paid will no longer be available for the IRS to collect. The federal, state and local beneficiaries of those taxes will be destroyed. How will the police and fire departments, the schools, the libraries, the roads, etc be maintained in Minneapolis, for instance, where there is a huge population of Madoff victims without the income from taxes.
I wanted to share the story of my personal devastation with you. However, I fear that you will get many other letters illustrating those horror stories.
I wanted to impress upon you the responsibility of the government in this travesty. I wanted to ask you to listen to President Obama and find the accountability.
I wish you God’s speed and hope that you can rejoice in your decision, knowing that it will help so many who worked so hard and did all the right things.
Ronnie Sue Ambrosino