Reeling Over Bernie's Swindle

Local Madoff victims speak out

Bernard Madoff pleaded guilty Thursday to swindling people out of billions of dollars. Of the many victims, 50 are in Connecticut.

Robert Francis, the executive director of a Bridgeport investment firm, and Henry Backe, a partner in a Fairfield orthopedic practice, both lost a bundle with Madoff.  But they have slightly different outlooks when it comes to the crime.

Francis told the Connecticut Post said that while his company lost $100,000, he would like to remind Madoff of all the charities that suffered because of his scheme. 

"I have to assume he knew what he was doing," Francis told the Post, "I think about all of the charities in this country, especially the Jewish charities, that he took tons of money from, and all of the people he hurt, by their not having these resources in their coffers."

Backe was more blunt. 

His company lost $11.6 million in pension funds because of the Ponzi scheme. He told the Post that Madoff deserves whatever sentence he gets, which could be life in prison.

Fairfield First Selectman Kenneth Flatto has a similar feeling to Backe. 

The town's pension fund invested millions with Madoff. They are now suing to recoup as much of that money as they can. 

"We believe that those involved should get the maximum sentence without any mercy," Flatto told the Post. "Everyone involved should pay the price without any plea bargaining."

Richard Saxl, Fairfield’s attorney, told the Financial Times the town had filed two lawsuits through the Connecticut State Banking Commissioner and was preparing a third, with each lawsuit encompassing many defendants.

“We’re still going to pursue criminal charges against him even if he pleads guilty,” Saxl told the Financial Times

Linda Broadhurst, 62, a telephone operator at a medical practice in Fairfield, lost a $10,000 investment to the Madoff scheme. She thought she'd be able to retire in four years. Now, that’s not going to happen, she told the Hartford Courant.

"I think I'm safe saying I really speak for everyone: He should go directly to jail and tell us where our money is," Broadhurst, who lives in Bridgeport, told the newspaper. Broadhurst said the government should go after any assets Madoff's wife Ruth has, to recover money for investors.

"Yes, of course, absolutely," Broadhurst said. "It's their money, it's her money, it's our money. They should go after every penny."

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