Bernard Madoff, who was once sitting on billions of dollars
he earned through elaborate schemes that defrauded thousands of millionaires, now makes $40 a month doing menial prison labor.
"I used to work as a clerk in the commissary, and now they have me taking care of the telephone and the computer systems," Madoff told CNNMoney, speaking by phone from a federal prison in North Carolina. Apparently his prison phone didn't even have enough money on it – he had to call CNNMoney collect.
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Madoff's job requires no technical skill; he merely has to "make sure they're working and they're kept clean."
Once head of his own finance firm, Madoff is now identified as inmate #61727-054 at Butner Federal Correctional Complex. The former billionaire's life took a complete 180 turn once he was sentenced to 150 years in prison after pleading guilty in 2009 to siphoning $17.5 billion from thousands of investors in an elaborate pyramid scheme.
The convict's living situation in a medium-security prison are a lot less comfortable than his $7 million Manhattan penthouse, beach house in Montauk, N.Y, homes in Florida, and France, as well as a yacht named "The Bull," all of which he had to give up in 2008 when the Ponzi scheme unraveled, according to CNNMoney.
He said he only works "a few hours" a day, leaving him plenty of time to reflect on his life.
"I'm usually up at 4:30 in the morning because I can't sleep," said Madoff, 75.
He is especially troubled by the death of his son, Mark, who took his own life in 2010
on the second anniversary of his father's arrest.
"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."
His younger brother Peter, 67, is also in prison, serving a 10-year sentence at a medium-security federal prison in South Carolina for covering up Madoff's scheme.
"Obviously, the main concern that I have is being away from my family," he told CNNMoney. "Married for 50 years, I had a very close family."
Not everyone buys that he is truly suffering though. Mike De Vita, a Madoff victim who co-authored "The Club that No One Wanted to Join," dismissed Madoff's remarks as "words, and words alone."
"How could a father bring his own two sons into a business that he knows is nothing more than a massive criminal enterprise?" De Vita asked.
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