Thursday, January 08, 2009

Madoff's Family Values

I have often thought that the conservative view of 'family values' is an odd one in many ways. It's not only shorthand for the subjugation of women and the sole dominance of a family patriarch. It can also be a set of values which are upheld by people who otherwise lead lives of crime (or evil as Bush would say). Think of the Maffia, for instance.

The Madoff case is interesting to me mostly because of what it tells about the torrid affair between Wall Street and those who were supposed to be keeping an eye on the shenanigans of that street. But it's also a glimpse into the mind of a man who thought nothing of embezzling money from the many, whatever the consequences of that might have been, while clearly trying to protect his biological family, beginning with his efforts to leave his sons blameless in the Ponzi scheme.

Then we learn that he is still taking care of his family:

Investigators searching the office desk of Bernard Madoff after his arrest found about 100 signed checks, totaling about $173 million, ready to be sent to family, friends, and employees, prosecutors said.


Prosecutors on Jan. 5 asked Ellis to jail Madoff because he mailed items including a diamond bracelet and watches to family in violation of a court-ordered asset freeze. In a letter to Ellis two days later, Madoff's defense lawyer, Ira Sorkin, said his client didn't know the order from the SEC lawsuit applied to his personal items and that he was merely sending sentimental items to family.

Those 'sentimental items' were worth more than one million dollars:

The heirlooms included at least 16 watches, a jade necklace, an emerald ring, four diamond brooches, two sets of cufflinks, a diamond bracelet and other assorted jewelry from brands like Cartier and Tiffany.

So he is allowed to go on committing crimes after house arrest? Truly, the rich are different from the rest of us.