Madoff victims adjusting to life without life savings - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Madoff victims adjusting to life without life savings

By John Bachman bio|email
Posted by Rachel Leigh email

PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) -  It's the Bernie Madoff bomb shell: In court Tuesday, his lawyer said the part-time Palm Beach resident is ready to plea guilty and face 150 years behind bars.

So what does that mean for the investors that lost billions?

Larry Leif says he lost $8 million. He's now living on money he made from selling his house, and, he's says, he's now going to fight for himself and for his fellow victims.

When Leif used to look at his statements from Bernard Madoff, he felt proud. Now, he's furious. "He stole money from everybody I know."

Madoff's lawyer said the money manager will plead guilty to 11 counts of securities fraud. Madoff is due back in court on Thursday to enter his plea. Since December, he's been out on $10 million bail living in his Manhattan penthouse.

Meanwhile, victims, like Larry Leif, have been adjusting to life without their life savings, and he can't believe there's any talk of Madoff's wife, Ruth, keeping millions. "Where would she accumulate $60 million? Just because something's in somebody's name doesn't mean it's theirs."

He says he invested $8 million with Madoff over 30 years, but, during that time, he also had to pay the government. "I have paid millions and millions of dollars in federal taxes on money that they told me that was fictitious and I never made."

Now, he and the other victims want to know how the government can shell out billions for bailouts, but not take care of the people the federal regulators were supposed to protect, and, at least, pay them back for the fraudulent investments. "I can't imagine my country's going to turn their back on me. But, let me tell you, it's sure looking that way."

Leif's headed to New York Wednesday hoping to be in court for Madoff's guilty plea on Thursday.

Federal prosecutors say they are hoping to recover $170 billion from Madoff. But, Leif said, in the meantime, some of his best friends have lost their homes.

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