Reports are surfacing that the man sent to prison for 150 years for defrauding hundreds of investors of $65 billion was not, in fact, mastermind Bernie Madoff but an impostor Madoff hired to take the fall on his behalf.
Americans across the country are appalled. "What the f*ck?" asked Drew Armarmarger, emptying his pockets to pay for gas money in Boca Raton, FL. "If you're convicted of the crime, you should do the time."
"It's horrifying," said Josefina Moran of Altoona, PA. "What if he strikes again? Our economy can't take any more madmen like this running free," Armarmarger exclaimed, clutching her purse tight to her chest.
Facebook and Twitter are afire with calls for investigations. "We will be responding," announced Sergeant Tim Tratum, the New York Police Department officer in charge of making sure that the people who are convicted of crimes are the ones who actually physically get locked behind bars. In a rare moment of humility from the NYPD, Tratum said, "We're feeling kind of stupid here."
There have been conflicting reports that the real Madoff is now either running a new scam of nationwide check cashing stores or serving as an advisor to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.
The news of Madoff's evasion of prison is popping up in other news stories. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, indicted for war crimes and destined for incarceration himself, declared, "Awesome! That dude is my hero!" And beleaguered golf superstar Tiger Woods, who must have wished for his own imposter in recent months, expressed not jealousy but disdain. "Y'all in the media are covering what I did 24/7 and meanwhile let this slide by? What the f*ck?"
Actually... in 2009, the pharmaceutical manufacturer Pfizer was ordered to pay the largest criminal fine in U.S. history -- $1.19 billion -- for illegally marketing the painkiller Bextra, a drug the FDA approved only in low-doses for the relief of arthritis and menstrual discomfort. Pfizer nonetheless pushed Bextra as an all-purpose pain killer in high doses for acute, post-surgical pain -- despite the FDA's finding that in such uses, Bextra would significantly increase risks of heart attack and stroke.
The criminal conviction for illegal marketing of Bextra would have barred Pfizer from participating in federal Medicare and Medicaid drug programs. So, with the consent of federal prosecutors, Pfizer created a "shell company" -- Pharmacia & Upjohn Co. -- to take the fall. According to a CNN Special Investigation:
...the subsidiary is nothing more than a shell company whose only function is to plead guilty. According to court documents, Pfizer Inc. owns (a) Pharmacia Corp., which owns (b) Pharmacia & Upjohn LLC, which owns (c) Pharmacia & Upjohn Co. LLC, which in turn owns (d) Pharmacia & Upjohn Co. Inc. It is the great-great-grandson of the parent company.
Parmacia & Upjohn Co. is barred from doing business with federally-funded health programs, while Pfizer continues to reap profits from our tax payer dollars. This isn't the only trouble Pfizer has caused in the last few weeks but while as a country we keep pushing for tougher law-and-order treatment of individual crimes, massive and monstrous corporate crimes are routinely overlooked by our political system (which is now officially a wholly-owned subsidiary of corporate America).
I'd wish you a happy belated April Fool's Day, but this stuff ain't no joke!
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