Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Why Does Bernard Madoff Have Access to e-Mail – Federal Prisoners Apparently Get Technology Denied to Millions of Others

Where is the Tough on Criminals Group When we Need Them?

For several yeas now Bernard Madoff has sat in a Federal prison in North Carolina.  This is not a country club facility; this is a medium security facility where Mr. Madoff is confined, largely on the basis of his 150 year sentence.  There are serious criminals in this place.

The New York Times has an in depth story on the current status of Mr. Madoff and the attempts to recover some of the funds of investors who lost some or all of their money investing with Mr. Madoff.  Interestingly enough, the story does not focus on many non-profits who lost large amounts, which in turn has damaged their ability to do the good deeds they were organized to do.

The main thing of interest is this part of the story.

In dozens of e-mails this year, Mr. Madoff has fiercely disputed Mr. Picard’s assertions that he was a fraud from the start. He calls that allegation “an absurd theory.”

His message to Mr. Picard and prosecutors: “Stop beating a dead horse,” he wrote, in capital letters, in an e-mail dated Nov. 24.

“It drives me crazy,” Mr. Madoff wrote in mid-October, that the trustee and the government “developed their theory that no trading took place ever.”

Okay, there are a couple of issues here.  The first is the why and how of Mr. Madoff’s access to e-mail.  It appears he has unlimited ability to send e-mails at a time when broad band access is simply not available to many Americans because of either cost or lack of technical access.  By what right does Mr. Madoff get to do anything other than send, say, one letter a week and to have that letter censored before it goes out.  He is a confessed, convicted felon; he did monstrous crimes and ruined the lives of many organizations and people, including his family.  Destroying your own family may be the worst crime of all.

As for Mr. Madoff’s complaint about the bankruptcy trustee, well, everyone has to remember that Mr. Madoff refused to cooperate in any way with the unraveling of the fraud or the recovery of funds.  He has maintained, despite all logic to the contrary, that he acted alone, which was and is an impossibility.  If Mr. Madoff wants the truth to come out, he is the one person who can do that most effectively.

Mr. Madoff also complains about the treatment of his family. 

Mr. Madoff maintains that he went off the tracks in 1992 and would have been found guilty had he stood trial. He says he confessed to spare his family, but he wrote in November, “If I had known that things would turn out the way they did, with all the harassment of my family anyway, I would have spent the money and gone to trial.”

The devastation of his family, including the suicide of his son rests squarely on the shoulders of Mr. Madoff.  It was his actions that brought them unlimited wealth, and his actions which caused the rest of the world to maintain that his family, particularly his brother and his sons knew exactly what was going on.  The logical explanation of his willingness to go to prison and his unwillingness to cooperate with the probe is that he is protecting people, in particular his family.  That others are outraged at this should not be a surprise to Mr. Madoff; they do not buy what he is selling, not any more.

So Bureau of Prisons, let’s take away Mr. Madoff’s e-mail privileges, in fact, let’s take away all his privileges, that will not be cruel and unusual punishment.  It will be what we call justice.

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