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Perhaps the most infamous white-collar crook of the last decade, Bernie Madoff took his reputation as a pariah so hard he and his wife Ruth tried to commit suicide, Ruth Madoff told 60 Minutes, but now that he's in prison the convicted ponzi-schemer says he finds himself smiling sometimes, and he's "horrified." ABC's Barbara Walters interviewed Bernie in prison on Oct. 14 prison and reported on Good Morning America this morning that he's happier in prison than outside. She said, per Reuters:

"I feel safer here than outside," Madoff told Walters.

"I have people to talk to, no decisions to make ... now I have no fear because I'm no longer in control" and "know that I will die in prison," she said he told her.

As for his crimes, Madoff said, "the average person thinks I robbed widows and orphans. I made wealthy people wealthier."

Walters said Madoff told her, "every once in a while I find myself smiling, and I'm horrified."

Madoff has spoken before about wishing he'd been caught earlier, when New York magazine got an in-depth look at his life inside. That feature also painted a picture of a belligerent bully who disdained his victims. "Fuck my victims," he reportedly said, when another inmate badgered him about his crime. "I carried them for twenty years, and now I’m doing 150 years." He still doesn't seem too bothered by the damage he did to his investors. He also told Walters, "I understand why clients hate me ... The gravy train is over. I can live with that." But he's devastated about losing his relationship with his family. "I betrayed them," he reportedly said.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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