As the markets were crashing in late 2008, I paid little attention to the Bernard Madoff scandal. It was a horrible event, of course, but more people were losing more money everyday in the stock market.
However, in February of 2009, I was having breakfast in a grand old hotel in Boca Raton, Florida, an area where many of Madoff’s victims lived . At the next table, an elderly Jewish couple sat in depressed resignation, discussing their losses with Madoff but barely eating their breakfast. It brought a human dimension to a mere newspaper story.
Although they were clearly broken-hearted and scared, I was struck by their almost robotic conversation. They were shell-shocked and numb. I felt sorry for them, very sorry . . . and wondered if Madoff felt sorry for them or felt anything at all.
Paybacks: A Tale of Ponzi Schemes and Families was my journey into the world of family pain, caused by a single bad financial decision.