For Aspen’s Madoff victims, little satisfaction in sentencing
ASPEN – Neither a 150-year prison term nor a courtroom apology from Bernard Madoff satisfied some of his local investors Monday, when the disgraced money manager was sentenced in a Manhattan court by U.S. District Judge Denny Chin.
The impacts of Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, estimated to have cheated investors out of more than $50 billion, were felt in the Aspen area, home to more than 30 people or entities that were defrauded.
Madoff, in a statement to those of his victims attending the hearing, said: “I’m sorry. I know that doesn’t help you.”
Basalt resident Ed Casela, who began investing with Madoff 12 years ago, said he watched the courtroom proceedings on television, refusing to accept his apology.
“He has no remorse,” Casela said. “This was a calculated crime that took place over 50 years.”
Casela called Madoff’s apology a “non-issue.”
“The issue is, how do you deal with your life moving forward?” he said.
Casela said the sentencing “is one small piece of a complex and difficult case.”
He would not talk about how much he lost, only to say the amount was substantial.
“It was a helluva lot,” he said.
Casela said his losses have forced him to change his lifestyle, but the 69-year-old is past the point of dwelling on his situation.
“You can take two or three days and you can cry and you can scream and you can yell and you can break glasses, but at some point you’ve got to move on,” he said. “And God bless those people who lost everything but moved on.”
After Madoff’s scheme was unmasked, Casela and a group of other locals who were defrauded launched the Phoenix Group on Google for people affected by the ordeal. They share thoughts, post media reports and brainstorm on how to proceed on legal matters.
One of those members, Aspen resident Steve Goldenberg, was succinct when asked if he felt justice was served with the sentencing of Madoff.
“No,” he said.
Instead, he said, the sentencing seemed to open up old wounds for him.
“It really stirs up the emotions and feelings that I had early on,” he said. “You kind of relive the crime.”
While Madoff got the maximum sentence, Casela said there are others who should be held criminally accountable as well. Goldenberg agreed.
“Where is the sentence for the SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission]?” Goldenberg said. “What is the sentence for Mary Schapiro [the chairperson of the SEC who previously headed the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority]. What sentence do we have for the SEC, which was given the road map to these crimes?
“If they would be sentenced, then I would feel justice has been served.”
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