Shana Madoff, Bernie's niece and the firm's compliance officer, has reportedly* turned to white-collar-criminal prison consultant Larry Levine for some advice should she have to hit the big house herself. Levine founded Wall Street Prison Consultants after ten years in federal custody for crimes including narcotics trafficking, securities fraud, racketeering, and obstruction of justice. "Most people who go inside spend their time watching MTV, jerking off, and playing cards," he says. "I spent my time in the law library and I learned everything I needed to know about the system." He usually offers his Fedtime 101 crash course for the low, low price of $999. But he spoke to us over the phone from L.A. and offered some of his words of wisdom, which he'll presumably dispense to Shana, for free. One thing he won't be doing? Advising Bernie Madoff himself.
"His people already called me and I wouldn't take him," Levine says. A man's got to have standards!
First, Shana should learn the insider lingo. Levine’s in the process of writing a prison-slang dictionary, and he’s got a list of go-to terms, including:
“Someone who’s sucking up to the cops. You’re humping the cop’s leg, trying to get favors.”
“A rat is an informant, so if you’re wearing a rat jacket, you’ve been tagged as an informant.”
“Someone who’s known to check out others in the shower.”
A verb, meaning “to smuggle something like cigarettes or batteries using your back end.”
Second, she'll need to learn to cook, prison-style. Levine offers recipes for casserole, and pizza made from a crushed-Saltine-cracker crust and topped with cheese and sauce swiped from the cafeteria. (And, he notes, the commissaries sell sausage; combine sausage with the aforementioned stolen cheese, and a microwave burrito is just minutes in the making!)
Then there's the question of what she'll do with her time. In order to snag a prime prison job, Shana will need a disability, Levine says. Or at least the appearance of one. "What you want to do is get a medical restriction. So you've got no prolonged walking, no standing, no heavy lifting. That limits the jobs they can give you. If you know how to type and you have half a brain, you're going to be doing paperwork while people are out raking leaves in 100 degree sun."
Also, probably don't tell people your last name is Madoff. "The economy is tanking and people don't have the money to send in to people from prison, and they're going to look to Bernie as the cause of that," he says."The guy that held up a bank, people are going to think, well, that guy's cool. Bernie's going to be in the same category as a child molester or a kiddie-porn person."
*A spokesperson for Ms. Madoff apparently denied this, the Post reports today. Still! It never hurts to know! Just in case!