Bernie Madoff: Punked by a Black Belt in Judo, Mel Gibson Fan, Giving Financial Advice

If the question How's Bernie Madoff doing in prison? has ever crossed your mind at any point, well, now we know. The answer is sad, hysterical, and kinda poignant.

The Wall Street Journal went up with an in-depth story last night appearing in today's paper that worked to confirm a number of rumors and stories about how the world's most famous Ponzi schemer's holding up in the big house. Specifically: Were rumors a few months ago about Bernie Madoff getting punked in prison true? As far as they can tell, yes. He was treated for fractured ribs, cuts, and a broken nose sometime in December, as confirmed by three different inmates, although the "down-home ass stomping" couldn't be confirmed on a technical basis or otherwise.

Of course, the Wall Street Journal went through the routine of digging up experts who note that Madoff denied the beating in an official statement (as did other inmates) because he fears retribution, which, come on, like we didn't know? We did. More importantly, should you feel bad about someone getting their ass kicked in prison? Yes. Because violence is bad. Even when it happens to awful people. However:

This is just funny:

The current inmate said Mr. Madoff's assailant was a beefy man serving time for a drug conviction. The alleged assailant's mother said in an interview her son had not mentioned any scuffle with Mr. Madoff but that he had been a body builder and held a black belt in Judo until he was injured in a shooting in 2002. While behind bars he has regained strength and gotten back into shape, she said.

Not only did Madoff have his ass handed to him, but by a guy who was a black belt in Judo. Judo! Apparently the guy thought Madoff owed him money -- which, really, probably not, but also, entirely possible. The new Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon is Six Degrees of People Conned by Madoff, after all (naturally, Kevin Bacon was one of them).

Regardless, Madoff is moving forward. And possibly preparing to strike back:

Mr. Madoff spends free time in the prison library on the weekends and often watches movies, including "Lethal Weapon," according to the former inmate.

If you learn how to fight from anyone, it's reputed anti-Semite Mel Gibson. Furthermore, he's also being of great use to the people on the inside:

He said he chatted with the admitted Ponzi schemer on Saturdays in the library and asked for financial advice: "He gave me ideas on my index funds." Mr. Madoff advised him to diversify, saying he should invest in funds that track the S&P 500 index of stocks "where my money would be on all the stocks instead of putting my eggs into one basket," the former inmate said. He said Mr. Madoff also warned him off of day trading. "I was trying to get into day trading and he's like, 'That's not for you. That's for individuals like me with millions to spare,' " he said.

Well, he meant, individuals like me who used to have millions to spare, unless, of course, he's still got cash hiding out somewhere offshore. All that said, and Down-Home Ass Stomping aside, Madoff's also well respected by the inmates for having a crime that cast such a wide net. He hangs out in select company, including a pharmacist busted for selling five million tablets of hydrocodone and Carmine Persico, former Colombo Family mob boss. So, you know, he's not doing so bad! Except, he still conned the world for $20B, he's still in prison, and he's going to be there for the rest of his life.

Madoff Was Beaten In Prison [WSJ]

[fkamer@villagevoice.com]

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