NEW YORK (Reuters) U.S. prosecutors and a court-appointed trustee ramped up efforts to recoup money from friends of Bernard Madoff believed to have profited from his fraud, reaching one forfeiture deal of $625 million and suing the owner of the New York Mets baseball club.
Prosecutors and trustee Irving Picard said the forfeiture on Tuesday [Dec. 7] from accounts at JPMorgan Chase & Co. were traceable to Carl Shapiro, a clothing entrepreneur who had invested with Madoff since 1961. They said the agreement was made “to resolve any potential civil claims by the government against Shapiro and his family.”
Mr. Shapiro, 97, and related account holders invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the Madoff firm and withdrew even more, according to court documents.
There’s a lot of bad news, and no little human interest, in this little squib. First of all, how about Mr. Shapiro? He invested with Madoff in 1961. He’s a “clothing entrepreneur,” which covers a lot of ground. He knew Bernie way back when. Imagine his reaction when he got the news.
“You mean this guy is a crook — and it took you almost fifty years to figure that out?”
“Well, he fooled you, didn’t he?”
“I GET PAID TO MAKE SCHMATTAS, YOU #^%$#*& IMBECILE! YOU’RE THE COPS. THIS IS WHAT YOU DO FOR A LIVING!” WHAT ARE YOU TELLING ME?
“Well — I tell you that you owe me $625 million.”
The good news is, Mr. Shapiro is older than Ronald Reagan, and that should help ease his pain , given the current state of Mr. Reagan. The better news is that “he withdrew even more,” which ought to give him some cold comfort. He can watch his heirs and assigns twitch in violent disappointment, but his own remaining years are most likely well provided for, and, as for the kids — let them figure out what the public wants next in blue jeans.
Then, there’s the Mets. Frankly, I wish the Mets would sink into Long Island Sound and spare me further writhings of their utterly inept management structure, but: suddenly Bernie Madoff influences the future of major league baseball?
No. A few million dollars won’t even buy you a mediocre shortstop. The Wilpons have thrown away more on “sluggers” who couldn’t kayo a rag doll. As a Yankees fan, I rejoice.
Thank God Picard has reached the end of his rope. His deadline for filing suits has expired. The whole Madoff mess is emblematic of a culture that believed they were special — that they had a return as a safe as T bills, but returned 3X more. I feel sorry for Mr. Shapiro, who very likely had no idea what he had gotten into, and now, through no fault of his own, has to disgorge the gross national product of Bonaire, but as for the Mets?
In a world where California, Illinois and New York states can’t pay their bills on time, and may well face default — what’s a .230 shortstop?