investing

The Madoff name game

Monday, March 1
Posted 11 a.m. EDT

What's in a name? Plenty if it's been in the news, and apparently accompanied by threats and harassment if the name happens to be Madoff.

Bernie Madoff

You remember Bernard Madoff -- he's the crook who bilked wealthy investors out of tens of millions of dollars in one of the largest Ponzi schemes recorded to date. He's now serving a prison term of 150 years.

The Associated Press reports that one of his daughters-in-law, Stephanie Madoff, filed court papers in Manhattan for a name change. She also wants her two children to go by the new name: Morgan.

It's no wonder the family gets harassed. With the Ponzi patriarch cooling his heels far from the public's grasp, financially-ruined victims are looking for blood anywhere they can get it. I'm not in favor of the innocent being made to suffer the crimes of one member of the family, and really, isn't harassing children criminal in its own way?

But Bernard Madoff was almost unbearably psychopathic. Letters read at his court sentencing last June tell of him putting his arms around elderly widows and assuring them their money would be safe with him, or stealing the funds intended for the future care of the mentally disabled. He stole from charitable foundations, friends and lifetime savers. His victims lost homes, dreams of retirement, life savings and a sense of security in their future.

During his court sentencing, he acknowledged a "legacy of shame" for his family. Although his victims lost their money and their pride, the name Madoff will be synonymous with fraud for generations.

Find out how the rich save today.

Ruth Madoff gets no respect, but she did get the mansion.

Calculate how to save a million dollars.

Questions? Comments? E-mail jmartel@bankrate.com

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