Best of America

Best Anti-Ponzi Scheme

When Marilyn Forbes, a retired secretary, first heard the name Bernie Madoff, the Wall Street financier now serving a 150-year prison sentence for stealing $65 billion from his investors, she had no idea who he was.

“I saw it on the news and thought, Oh, those poor people, without realizing that I was one of them,” says Forbes, 73.

But Robert Lappin, her former boss and the CEO of Shetland Properties, who made his money building and  managing industrial parks in the Boston area, understood the implications right away—for Forbes and his other 59 former and current employees. Their retirement plans, as well as the Lappin charitable foundations’ assets and much of Lappin’s personal fortune, had been invested with Madoff. And all of it—more than $83 million—was now gone.

“I was in shock,” recalls the ponytailed Lappin, 88. But instead of worrying about his personal losses, which totaled $18 million, he looked for a way to restore his employees’ retirement funds. Six months later, Lappin—with the help of his three children, who had not invested heavily with Madoff—wrote checks to his employees for $5.1 million.

Lappin had a good model in his father, who never evicted anyone from the apartment buildings he owned during the Great Depression, even tenants who were weeks behind on their rent. He cites another reason: “It had a great deal to do with sleep,” he says. “I had to do this, or I would not have been able to sleep well for the rest of my life.”

Become more interesting every week!

Get our Read Up newsletter

how we use your e-mail
We will use your email address to send you the newsletter each week, and we may also send you occasional special offers from Reader's Digest. For more information please read our privacy policy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Some people like to travel by train because 
it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of 
an airplane.

Dennis Miller

I think my pilot was a little inexperienced. We were sitting on the runway, and he said, “OK, folks, we’re gonna be taking off in a just few—whoa! Here we go.”

Kevin Nealon

“I can’t wait until your vacation is over.” 
—Everyone following you on Instagram


A man knocked on my door and asked for a donation toward the local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water.

Comedian Greg Davies

Funny Jokes

Just found the worst page in the entire dictionary. What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest, and disingenuous.


Funny Jokes

Client: We need you to log in to the YouTube and make all our company videos viral.


Funny Jokes

My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me 
everything you know.”


Funny Jokes

“Just because you can’t dance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance.” 

@yoyoha (Josh Hara)

Funny Jokes

My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that’s the law.

—Jerry Seinfeld

Funny Jokes

Q: What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse’s mouth?

A: A mechanic.

Fields marked with an * are required
Foods That Harm Foods That HealWant a Free eBook?
FOODS THAT HARM, FOODS THAT HEAL offers important information about the role diet plays in the struggle against heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other serious illnesses. Answer the question below to receive your FREE digital eBook.

Someone in my household experiences the following conditions:

Send me a link to download FOODS THAT HARM, FOODS THAT HEAL:
By clicking below, I agree to the Trusted Media Brands Privacy Policy