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The Hidden Madoff Victims

March 12, 2009

New York, NY — We will never know the names of untold thousands of victims of the Bernard Madoff ponzi scheme, but experts say many of those hit hardest are the poorest New Yorkers. Jason Angell, the director of the Center for Working Families in New York, says the poor rely on a vast range of social services that used to be funded by major foundations. Those foundations were swindled out of billions they invested with the admitted fraudster - and now the hurt is being felt by poor people and working families all across New York.

"There’s numerous examples; the homeless populations, there’s services around the affordable housing, those who need basic food and shelter — so it’s really going to hit some of the poorest people the hardest."

Madoff is expected to plead guilty to fraud charges that reach back 20 years and could earn him a 150-year prison sentence. Angell says whole communities all across New York will be left scrambling - trying to fill the gap for social services that were lost when major foundations lost big with Madoff.

"I think they are the unheard victims. People are focused on the country club angle of how the deals were made, but what they haven’t focused on is how the loss of money is going to trickle down and impact communities on the ground in terms of lost funding for services."

Madoff is expected to enter his plea at federal court in Manhattan. Probation officials must carry out a pre-sentencing investigation, and it could be months before he goes to prison.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NY