A Madoff Investor Urges Harsh Sentence

Bernard Madoff is scheduled to be sentenced on Monday for perpetrating the greatest financial fraud in history, one that duped thousands of investors, big and small, out of billions of dollars. Scott Simon speaks with Allan Goldstein, 76, who says he lost his life savings to Madoff's Ponzi scheme.

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SCOTT SIMON, host:

Ruth Madoff will hand over nearly $80 million worth of assets under a deal that was approved yesterday by a federal judge. Her husband, Bernard Madoff, is scheduled to be sentenced on Monday for perpetrating the greatest financial fraud in history - one that duped thousands of investors, big and small, out of as much as $65 billion.

One of those investors was 76-year-old Allan Goldstein. In January, he told the House Financial Services Committee that a lifetime of hard work in New York's garment industry had been wiped out by Mr. Madoff's scheme. A few weeks later, he spoke on our program.

Mr. ALLAN GOLDSTEIN: I was in shock. I lost all my money. I didn't know what to do or where to turn. And I realized that I couldn't go on and live my life consumed with anger. So right now I really don't care about Bernie Madoff. I don't care if he goes to jail, I don't care if he stays out of jail. It's not going to improve my life one way or the other, so I really don't care.

SIMON: We've asked Mr. Goldstein to return. He joins us now by telephone. Thanks so much for speaking with us again.

Mr. GOLDSTEIN: Nice to speak to you again also.

SIMON: And Mr. Goldstein, now that sentencing is at hand, do you feel that for your own good you have to be kind of indifferent to what the sentence is?

Mr. GOLDSTEIN: Well, I feel a little differently than I did when I spoke with you in January because I didn't realize the extent of the fraud that he committed, of the charities that are going out of business because he took their money. It's much more serious than I really envisioned because at that time I was only involved with myself. And I think he deserves as long a sentence as possible.

SIMON: His lawyer suggested 12 years, because he said Mr. Madoff - he pointed out that Mr. Madoff gave himself up to officials and he says he accepts responsibility for his crimes. Twelve years - how does that strike you?

Mr. GOLDSTEIN: I don't think that's even a drop in the bucket as to what he should be getting.

SIMON: Mr. Goldstein, how are you feeling?

Mr. GOLDSTEIN: I'm doing all right. I'm trying to look for a job. I'm having trouble finding employment primarily because of my age. And I'm living - we had to sell our home, which was upstate New York and I'm living now with my daughter in California. We're living in one room and he had a nice house before. We had a home that we loved we had to give up. But at this point we've accepted where we are and we're making the best of our situation.

SIMON: You had mentioned when we spoke in January how difficult it is to rely on your children.

Mr. GOLDSTEIN: Yeah. It's difficult because, for me, I've always been an independent person. I never thought I would have to ask people for money to help me (unintelligible) my life. But I have no choice, and my kids have been fabulous. My daughter is, who we live with, has just been wonderful. And thank God I have my children. Without them I'd have nothing right now.

SIMON: Did you file any kind of statement with the court prior to sentencing?

Mr. GOLDSTEIN: Yes, I did. Matter of fact, my letters were printed in a few newspapers, including the New York Post, yeah.

SIMON: Can you tell us what you said?

Mr. GOLDSTEIN: Well, I just explained how my - what he's done to my family, my wife and myself - my wife is having a very, very difficult time emotionally dealing with this and she's under psychiatric care. And the fact that we've lost all our money, we lost our home, I lost my car. I worked my whole life and never not paid my taxes and was a fairly good citizen. And at this stage of my life I have nothing. My Social Security check is my only source of income, period.

SIMON: Mr. Goldstein, thanks so much for speaking with us again.

Mr. GOLDSTEIN: Oh, my pleasure, my pleasure. Thank you for having me. Have a nice day.

SIMON: Allan Goldstein, who lost his life savings in the Bernard Madoff fraud scheme.

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