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An artist's street display sits outside the courthouse where Bernard Madoff was sentenced. (Getty Images)

Madoff Heads To Jail, And The Books Head To Stores

Sep 21, 2009 (Morning Edition)

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It's been about six months since Bernard Madoff pleaded guilty to running a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme. Already, half a dozen books have been published about the scandal — including four just in the last month.

NPR's Jim Zarroli says the most provocative of the bunch is Madoff's Other Secret, by Sheryl Weinstein. In it, the former chief financial officer of the Hadassah charitable foundation claims to have had a lingering affair with Madoff.

Zarroli recently spoke to Weinstein. And he tells NPR's Renee Montagne that he doesn't think Weinstein would have written the book if her family hadn't lost all their money by investing in Madoff's company.

"We're in our 60s," Weinstein said of herself and her husband, noting that they don't have decades to work and accumulate more money for their retirement. "This was the only thing I had to sell, and my only option."

"I had this huge bowl of lemons," Weinstein said, "and I'm still trying to make the lemonade out of it."

Weinstein's firm got involved with Madoff's scheme after an anonymous donor stipulated that the money be invested with Madoff. After that investment performed well, the organization put in about $40 million.

Other books focus more on the business side of the scandal — and how Madoff managed to escape scrutiny for so many years. Among them:

    Madoff by Peter Sander

    Catastrophe by Deborah and Gerald Strober

    Too Good To Be True by Erin Arvedlund

    Madoff With The Money by Jerry Oppenheimer

    Betrayal by Andrew Kirtzman

While it's worth noting that Arvedlund is one of the few people who wrote articles challenging Madoff's success — hers was published in 2001 — Zarroli says the books cover much of the same ground. The most readable, he said, is Kirtzman's Betrayal , which he says is "sort of the most like a novel."

But you may not want to head to the bookstore just yet. There is still much to be explored about the scandal, such as how involved members of Madoff's family were. And the investigation isn't over.

"Recently, one of Madoff's top aides — his name is Frank DiPascali — pleaded guilty to fraud and is cooperating with the government. So we are definitely going to learn more about the inner workings of the firm," Zarroli said.

"And I think the complete book about Bernie Madoff is yet to be written."

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