Even in prison, Bernie Madoff is still Bernie Madoff


Bernard Madoff is lonely in prison.

But he has an email pal -- the esteemed financial journalist Diana Henriques, who wrote his biography, The Wizard of Lies. He enrolled her in the prison email system, which allowed them to correspond frequently. And even to this day, months after the publication of her book, he continues to reach out to her.

"Perhaps he believes he can use me to 'set the record straight,' despite our profound disagreements about what that record is. Maybe he is trying to paint a more bearable portrait of himself in his own mind, and our correspondence is just a tool for doing that. Whatever his motives, he displays the same talent for manipulation, deception and delusion that served him so well in his criminal life," Henriques writes in Forbes.

Madoff says he has some regrets. One his biggest remains not going to trial to fight the charges against him.

"It seems not to have occurred to him that he would have been publicly eviscerated in court."

At the same time, he admits he was a criminal.

"He insists that he was once an honest and successful trader, before unscrupulous clients–people, he says, "'I foolishly trusted'–forced him to take on losses, then failed to make him whole on deals gone bad. As a result, he argues, he sank into crime. When did this take place? Madoff is fuzzy about actual details, calling it his 'riddle.' It occurred, he says, sometime after the 1987 market crash, but before 1992, when he claims his Ponzi scheme began."

In any case, Henriques has published a lot of his emails, which make for interesting reading. They make clear that he has had trouble adjusting to his radically different life. He is no longer "the man" obviously. He's all alone, having been cut off by family, and reliant on his email pal for a lifeline to the outside world. He still sees himself as a gifted, offering to help advise on the financial crisis, as if he still had something to say that people would take seriously.

That said, he was helpful in helping the trustee recover funds from victims, or so he says. At some point, Henriques just might cut him off. Who knows what that will do to Madoff. -Jim