Bernie Madoff earns sweatshop wages in prison
The fraudster says he's making $40 a month -- about the same as Bangladesh garment workers.
Bernie Madoff, whose formerly lavish lifestyle included a share in a private jet and houses in Palm Beach, Fla., and France's Cap d'Antibes, is now making wages akin to those earned by Bangladeshi garment workers.
Madoff told CNNMoney's Aaron Smith that he's making $40 a month by performing menial labor in prison. Because his prison phone account was out of money, he had to place a collect call to the publication.
The convicted swindler is making his meager earnings by taking care of the prison's phone and computer systems. That means Madoff, whose name is now a byword for a grand cheater, is earning about the same amount as garment workers in Bangladesh, as the Huffington Post notes.
Bangladeshi garment workers garnered international sympathy over their treatment after a factory collapse killed more than 1,000. (Retailers including Sears (SHLD) and J.C. Penney (JCP) are said to be reviewing a pact to help fund safety improvements at the country's manufacturing sites.) But few Americans are likely to feel anything approaching sympathy toward Madoff.
That's because he engineered what's thought to be the largest financial fraud in American history, creating a Ponzi scheme that led to the loss of billions of dollars for investors. Those who got sucked into his scam included the actors Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick and the author Elie Wiesel's foundation.
Madoff also told CNNMoney that he has trouble sleeping and blames himself for the 2010 suicide of his eldest son.
"I was responsible for my son Mark's death, and that's very, very difficult," he said. "I live with that. I live with the remorse, the pain I caused everybody, certainly my family, and the victims."
Madoff isn't earning any more or less than other prisoners. The pay scale for federal prisoners is about 12 cents to 40 cents an hour, according to the Prison Policy Initiative. At Madoff's monthly pay, that means he's earning a quarter an hour, based on a standard 40-hour workweek.
It's likely to be a wage he earns for the rest of his life. Madoff, 75, is serving a 150-year sentence.
Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi.
It bothers me that he would have access to a computer after what he did.
This post is brought to you by Karma. Karma: What comes around, goes around and bites you in your rump!
All of it needs to go back to the people he screwed... every dime
If we ever do get into a Depression, I'm off to Prison.. Free food, 44.00 a month bed, and a roof over my head.
Then they say crime don't pay.
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