Bernie Madoff went to jail this morning. Madoff (pictured above) was the Wall Street financier who stole $65 billion in a Ponzi scheme. Madoff is part of history now. He stole more money than anybody in the history of the world.
He pled guilty to eleven counts including securities fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, and perjury. He has been in custody since December. He has been doing his time in a $7 million Manhattan penthouse under house arrest. Except when he went out to eat, of course.
After he pled guilty Madoff asked United States District Judge Denny Chin to let him go home. The judge sent Madoff to the Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown Manhattan instead. People in the courtroom cheered. The stock market went up.
Tonight a bunch a yuppie, big shots in New York will be going around buying drinks and bragging about how the system works. Tonight, a handful of slightly less glamorous entrepreneurs will be trying to get messages to Bernie’s relatives, reminding them that if Bernie doesn’t “know how to act in prison” he will have:
• a 30 percent chance of getting killed;
• a 15 percent chance of getting raped;
• a 40 percent chance of getting stabbed;
• a 90 percent chance of getting beaten.
And that is just what the other prisoners might do to him. That isn’t even to mention the guards, the riots, the food, the health care or the noise.
These statistics come from the web site of a San Diego business called “Dr. Prison.” There is also a guy in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles named Larry Levine. Levine does business as Fedtime and American Prison Consultants. Both Dr. Prison and Larry Levine are ex-convicts.
There is also an outfit in Daytona Beach which calls itself Federal Prison Consultants when it is chasing the bottom of this market and The MPM Group when it is selling to more upscale offenders. Another outfit called National Prison and Sentencing Consultants works out of East Providence, Rhode Island.
Unless the Feds actually recover the money Madoff stole from a million old ladies he will probably go with the most upscale prison coach of them all. Bernie will probably hire a guy named Herbert J. Hoelter. Hoelter runs an outfit in Baltimore called the National Center on Institutions and Alternatives. Sounds like money, doesn’t it? Hoelter was Martha Stewart’s, Michael Milken’s and Ivan Boesky’s prison tutor.
Economy Prison Coaches
Of course, if Madoff can’t get to wherever it is that he has hidden all that money he stole he might have to go with one of the cheap guys. And, the best known of these at the moment is probably Larry Levine. Levine is already trying to solicit Bernie Madoff’s business.
Levine, whose “Federal Prison Survival Crash Course” starts at the low, low introductory price of $850, did time in ten different Federal lockups and one half way house between 1998 and 2007. And, listen, who wouldn’t spend $850 to learn what you need to know to keep from being “extorted, raped, assaulted or killed.”
Levine advises first time prisoners, “You gotta play by the rules if you want to survive, but it’s the unwritten rules, that’ll keep you alive!”
And of course, all these guys want you to know that they are available to teach you those unwritten rules. They are only looking for one thing in a client. They don’t care about your crime.
An ex-offender named Tom Miller, who works for Dr. Prison probably summed it up best in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “We deal with anybody who has fears,” Miller said.