“Madoff Is Sentenced to 150 Years for Ponzi Scheme”

if-bernie-met-dante“. . .Yes, Bernard L. Madoff went to jail on Thursday after pleading guilty to a gargantuan Ponzi scheme, and yes, he may face the rest of his life in prison when he is sentenced to as much as 150 years on June 16. But if even that dose of clinical justice seems like paltry penance to his many bilked and ruined investors, including charities, they can always turn to literature for a further measure of satisfaction–and to pronounce, perhaps, another kind of final judgment.
Mr. Madoff was 700 years too late to join Dante’s Who’s Who of sinners, but it is easy to imagine where the poet would consign this scam artist, who admitted to stealing as much as $65 billion: to the Pit, the Ninth (and deepest) Circle of Hell. It is where sins of betrayal are punished in a sea of ice fanned frigid by the six batlike wings of the immense, three-faced, fanged and weeping Lucifer. . .
It is fitting, Mr. Pinsky says. Betrayal destroys the trust that binds humanity, and with it, the betrayer himself. Dante was consumed by the sadness and mystery of sin–and what it did to the sinner.” [. . .]    –Ralph Blumenthal, The New York Times, March 14, 2009

madoff-is-sentenced-to-150-years-for-ponzi-scheme

“. . . Burt Ross, who lost $5 million in the fraud, cited Dante’s The Divine Comedy, in which the poet defined fraud as ‘the worst of sin’ and expressed the hope that, when Mr. Madoff dies — ‘virtually unmourned’ — he would find himself in the lowest circle of hell.” [. . .]    –Diana B. Henriques, The New York Times, June 29, 2009