It has been the public's perception that Madoff investors were all extremely wealthy and all belonged to exclusive clubs. This perception has been reinforced by the media and the powers that be. The truth is, with very few exceptions, such as Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Picower, and Stanley Chais, most were average, small-time investors. They did not belong to exclusive private clubs or any other fancy clubs. They lived an average American life; they worked hard, contributed to society and saved for their retirement years. But in the end that was not enough. No one, it turns out, could protect them from the worst financial criminal in history, Bernard L. Madoff. As a result, they were all thrown tragically into one club none of them ever expected to join: the "club" of victims. This is their story.
This is the first book of its kind about the Madoff Ponzi scheme, in which 29 Madoff investors band together to tell their story without an intermediary, directly to the public and in their own words. Baring private details and exposing the truth about who the real victims are, they don't hold back as to who really enabled the scheme to continue for 40 years. Listeners need to know what the authorities would rather keep from them, or else they are destined to become the next victims. The book's message is: this can happen to anyone.
The authors are men and women just like the average listener. They come from all walks of life - blue collar, white collar- from all parts of the country and at different life stages. These are working-class families, ex-multi-millionaires, professionals, artists, and retirees. They come from Florida, Minnesota, Vermont, New York, New Jersey, California, Pennsylvania, Texas, and other states. They come from different ethnic and religious backgrounds. In short they are regular people, Americans who got sucked into a Ponzi scheme that even the federal government has yet to solve. They all have one thing in common: they were robbed of their life savings by the worst financial criminal in history, Bernard L. Madoff. It is time that the public learns the truth.
This is a story of financial devastation, of lessons learned, of hope and rebirth. It has been more than a year since the fraud came to light and the survivors are now ready to share their experience and the hard-learned lessons with the public.
Though the financial disaster caused major transformations in their lives, transformations which are still ongoing, their spirit has not been broken.
As one of the authors in this book summed up eloquently, "There will always be meaningful work to be done, more fun to be had, and lots more people to love." And in the end, that is the message of hope the authors wish to convey.
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A story everyone should hear
Any book that doesn't go for the obvious but looks at a part of the story that so much of the mainstream media missed and shows the much wider impact this fraud had on everyday people.
She brings the storytellers alive, as though they are sitting in the room with you. It adds a richness to the story that I don't think you can get by reading the book.
Varied group of victims..