They had grown up with a severe code of values. Money did not trump peace of mind or, to put it crudely, staying out of jail. Some of our fathers could have gotten ahead on the job by changing their religion but they didn't. Yeah, it was that kind of old-fashioned values. Many of us were first-generation college. Our parents warned us not to lose our faith there.
And, yet, the Madoff 5 engaged in various degrees of the massive fraud that Bernie Madoff put together. Now they are going to prison. Victims of the fraud hate them. I assume those back in their neighborhoods have distanced themselves. Have they come to hate themselves. In a Bloomberg media report, Bongiorno describes herself as "broken."
The question that nags at us this week of the sentencing of the Madoff 5 is: Would we have violated the values hammered into us by our parents, the churches, teachers, and straight-arrow peers? Would the temptation to enjoy a better lifestyle than we ever imagined have been the siren call we couldn't resist?
Well, no such temptation came my way. Or if it did my mindset was such that I didn't pick up on it.