SoCal Bernie Madoff victim still struggling to recover

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Richard Shapiro of Hidden Hills is still struggling to recover from the Madoff scheme. (KABC)

Seven years after Bernard Madoff committed the biggest financial fraud in U.S. history, his victims, like Richard Shapiro of Hidden Hills, are still struggling to recover from the financial devastation.

They also question why more people weren't held accountable for failing to catch Madoff's crimes earlier.

Shapiro, who lost 30 years of savings he earned in real estate to the Madoff scheme, still remembers clearly the phone call he got informing him of the fraud.

"It was like 'What?'" he recalled. "And I just went into complete panic. Just complete panic."

Madoff pleaded guilty in 2009 to federal charges of financial fraud in what was described as a massive Ponzi scheme that stole some $65 billion from investors. He was sentenced to 150 years in prison.

After the loss, Shapiro went through depression and divorce, gave up his voluntary position as chairman of the California Horse Racing Board, and went back to work in order to keep his home.

But to this day he doesn't understand why more federal regulators weren't blamed for failing to notice the scheme earlier, which was believed to have lasted for two decades or more.

"Where was the (Securities and Exchange Commission)?" Shapiro asked. "Where was the Department of Justice? Who went to jail for this? Who was held accountable in the government? Nobody."

Watch ABC7 Thursday at 8 p.m. for the two-hour conclusion of the miniseries "Madoff," followed by the ABC News piece "Madoff: After the Fall" at 10 p.m.
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bernie madofffraudHidden HillsLos Angeles
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