Bernard Madoff's apology was all we could have asked for. It wasn't halfhearted or mealy-mouthed. He accepted responsibility for his actions and didn't slip in any caveats, justifications or self-exculpatory asides.
"I'm sorry," the 71-year-old convicted swindler said, turning around in the courtroom to face his victims. "I live in a tormented state now, knowing of the pain and suffering that I've created."
Great. Except for one little problem. The apology came after he was caught -- after a decade spent reaping the benefits of his fraud, benefits that included a Manhattan penthouse, shares in two private jets, a beachfront house in the Hamptons and a yacht off the French Riviera. And the apology came just before his sentencing -- immediately before U.S. District Judge Denny Chin was to decide whether to give him the maximum sentence of 150 years.
It seems an understatement to suggest that Madoff's credibility is compromised. Beginning in the early 1990s and continuing until his own children turned him in last December, he perpetrated one of the largest frauds in American history; hundreds of investors lost at least $13 billion. And now he wants us to know how awful he feels about it?