Shortly after Bernie Madoff arrived in prison, at the start of a 150-year sentence, the mastermind behind the largest fraud in financial history was slapped across the face.
MarketWatch reports that Madoff was closely following the way his case was being reported in the media and had gone to the jail’s TV room to watch “60 Minutes.” When he changed the channel—in defiance of the prison’s unwritten rules, he soon learned—another inmate objected and wanted it changed back. There was a scuffle, and then a smack on the cheek.
It was then that Carmine John Persico Jr., the notorious boss of the Colombo crime family, known as “The Snake,” who has been serving his own century-plus sentence at the same prison, intervened.
“Carmine sent his boys over, or his ‘friends,’ rather, to ‘have a talk’ with the guy who delivered the slap,” recounted Steve Fishman, a journalist who has covered Madoff for years. Persico’s men “issued what Madoff called ‘an extraordinarily stern warning,’ and talked it all out. After that, Bernie got to watch” whatever he wanted.
It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship between a pair of notorious, geriatric inmates (Madoff is just shy of 80 and Persico is 83) serving what amounts to life in prison.
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