Welcome, good evening, one and all, find a seat and make yourself comfortable. Take your shoes off and stay a while; a little business first, for those of you with cars there is no valet parking. Feel free to ask to ask questions of your neighbors. Those of you who lost your retirement in the Enron scandal please raise your hands so that the newcomers can find you.
There will be no refreshments served, get used to it. So, here we go. You are now poor and this is the awareness group: "So you woke up and found yourself poor." Any former millionaires here? Ha, ha, ha, ha, I’m sorry, I know that’s mean-spirited but I just can’t help myself sometimes. How about any Republicans? I didn’t think so, I knew you wouldn’t fall for that gag twice, would you?
With that I’ll open up the floor for questions. Yes, sir, go ahead.
"I am a retired business man living in Florida. Just about all my money is invested with Madoff Securities. I have been using that money to live on. Based on what is known so far, can you tell me how badly I have been hurt and if there is anything I should be doing to possibly protect myself or preserve my assets. I appreciate any advice you can give me. Please email me or call me . . ."
That’s an easy one; you are screwed, blued and tattooed. You were retired, now you're just broke-ass poor. Your new hobbies are yard sales, flea markets, and for a big day, hanging out at the public library. Yes, you in the back.
Well, ma’am, in the words of the late Johnny Cash, "Cry, cry, cry," but try to look at the bright side. Remember how concerned many of you were before the election that Obama was going to raise your taxes? You don’t have to worry about that any more.
"Both my grandmother and parents invested funds with the firm. We are very concerned. Please advise."
"We are long-time investors in Madoff with millions of dollars there. We can’t get any information. Do you know anything about how much of the investors assets are left?"
Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, I’m sorry, let’s see, he had fifty billion and he’s got around two hundred million left, so what’s that? About two cents on the dollar? Of course, that was before Bernie started passing out millions to his friends and relatives. So, if you’ve got any jars filled with change you might want to start planning your retirement around them.
"I am one of the little guys who has money invested at Madoff. My father was an investor with the company for 30 years, and when he died in 2006 he left money in trust for my children and my wife which is invested in Madoff accounts. Based on what he told me of the firm, I also invested the money he left to me. All totaled we have about $2,800,000 in four accounts. Needless to say I am feeling pretty sick to my stomach this evening. At this point do you have any idea of whether there is (or will be) any money to distribute to account holders. Any information you can provide would be appreciated (that is an understatement for sure). Thank you."
Had, sir, you had, then he had; now you don’t have and never will have again.
"I am an 86-year-old widow who had her total money with Madoff. I have read the Internet stories but would be interested to learn more about the prospects of getting any money out of this situation. If you have any information or can direct me to how I can get some information I would be very grateful."
"I am absolutely appalled by the arrest of Bernard Madoff. My father has a very substantial investment with his firm and is, at the moment, out of the country and not reachable. Is there any word on whether my father’s account is worth anything? Is there something that he should be doing, or is it too late? What does it mean that Madoff was making distributions to select employees, friends and family? How could this happen??????"
That is a very good question, thank you for asking. The good news is that until you are able to reach your father, he is still affluent. So don’t be in too much of a hurry to contact him. Your father's account is worth a smile and a promise. This happened because you forgot that greed is eternal. You trusted in those who told you that the market could be trusted and that regulations would steal away the precious pennies you sought to put in your pocket, and that is what brought you here today. Try and understand, sir, that you are in the remedial group.