PALM BEACH, Fla. - While Bernie Madoff sits behind bars for the rest of his life, his son, Andrew, and wife, Ruth, are telling their side of the story. Their book, "Truth and Consequences," hits store shelves today and no matter what your opinion, it's selling fast.
A rainy day may be the perfect time to curl up with a book; however, you might have a hard time finding "Truth and Consequences," the new Madoff book by Laurie Sandell, in Palm Beach. Classic Bookshop on South County Road in Palm Beach has already run out.
"It's done well," said Dan Foster, the store buyer for Classic Bookshop. "It arrived this week and we immediately sold out."
The town the Madoffs called home is eager to hear what the infamous family has to say about the ponzi scheme that cost thousands of investors, including their own friends and neighbors, billions.
"It's going to make money because everyone is interested in this whole Madoff case and how he got away with it for so long," explained Philip Snow of Boca Raton.
"I was in agony over the losses of all my friends," Ruth Madoff told Today Show Host Matt Lauer. "Everyone I know and loved was a victim."
Ruth Madoff and her son, Andrew, told their story on NBC's Today Show this morning. Ruth Madoff admitted she and her husband tried to commit suicide. Both she and Andrew said they didn't know any wrongdoing was going on.
"It never occurred to me that it was all fake," Andrew Madoff told Lauer.
That's not sitting well with people in Palm Beach County.
"They had to know what was going on," insisted Snow. "I have a family business and the ones that are involved in the business definitely know what's going on from a major to minor decision. Most family businesses are like that."
Christine Lewis of Palm Springs agrees.
"I think it's very hard to live with someone and put your blinders on like that," she said, "and I believe that he probably told her a lot more than she lets on."
As Classic Bookshop waits for its next shipment of the Madoff book this week, Palm Beach County residents have mixed thoughts about reading it.
"I'm going to go out and buy it right after I finish this interview with you," said Snow.
Lewis said she won't spend the money.
"I don't really want any more money to go towards something that's created such heartache for so many people."
WPTV NewsChannel 5 contacted Ronnie Sue Ambrosino of the Madoff Victims Coalition. She gave us the following statement:
"While I understand the need to keep the public informed of any story relating to the man who stole $64B right under the eyes of the SEC, I find it difficult to understand why there isn't more focus on the injustices and sordid details of the aftermath of the fraud.
Madoff was the crook-he confessed. We all know that, but in the three years since the fraud was revealed, the victims have been exposed to things much more horrendous than Ruth will ever know. They have lost their homes, their life insurance, their health care, and the financial security they worked 30+ years for. These innocent investors trusted the SEC and FINRA to properly oversee their broker, or at least case to inform them that these agencies were warned on numerous occasions over a 10 year period that their broker may be a fraud.
These investors had the SIPC seal on every trade confirmation they received from their SEC approved broker and believed that SIPC would insure their investments if their broker was found to be dishonest. As a result of SIPC reneging on its promise of protection, 80 and 90 year old investors have been forced to return to work, usually in menial jobs since they were no longer trained in their given professions.
These investors have been brutally hounded by Trustee Irving Picard to return money that they took out in good faith from their SEC registered broker account. These same investors paid income taxes for 30+ years on money that they are now being told was "phantom income", yet they were only able to receive a portion of taxes back for the last 5 years.
The injustices seen by thousands of Madoff victims have been ignored and yet every American investor is subject to the same injustices if they find themselves invested with a dishonest broker.
The major difference between these innocent investors and Ruth and Bernie is simple—the investors have pulled themselves up and have educated themselves on the laws and the best way to fight back. They have gotten support from members of Congress, who have initiated bills to ensure that the SEC is held responsible for their failures and that SIPC be made to pay the protection they promise.
Ruth and Bernie took the low road-they tried to escape the pain and they failed.
Madoff victims are taking the high road and are helping to protect all American investors as they proceed. Despite the horrors we face, we can proudly say we will survive.
THIS IS THE STORY THAT NEEDS TO BE TOLD."
Ronnie Sue Ambrosino
Madoff Victims Coalition