New Jersey state Sen. Loretta Weinberg lost her entire life savings in the Madoff scheme.
While many of the losses of huge foundations and organizational endowments that have been making headlines over the past week are truly mind boggling, Weinberg was not ultra wealthy at all.
A lifelong civil servant, the veteran Democratic lawmaker was among a handful of Madoff victims to give their stories to The Wall Street Journal this weekend. Weinberg makes about $49,000 as an elected official in Trenton, where she represents the 37th District, which covers a highly Jewish region in the northern part of the state.
She had her savings, about $1.3 million, invested with Stanley Chais, another Madoff victim.
From the Journal story, which is subscription only:
"Irwin had a saying, ‘If you made a dollar and a half, you put 75 cents into a savings account and you lived on the other 75 cents,’ " says Ms. Weinberg, whose husband had his own business building and designing retail stores. "That’s how we lived."
Ms. Weinberg’s family had investments with Stanley Chais, a Los Angeles money manager who ran what he called "the arbitrage partnerships," and Loretta and her husband also opened up accounts. "It’s where my family had their money," she says. "We’d get reports every quarter."
Year in and year out Mr. Chais delivered steady returns of 10% to 14% annually. "We had a family joke that every night we should all say a little prayer for Stanley Chais."
She had never heard of Bernard Madoff — until last week, when she learned that Mr. Chais had invested her money in Mr. Madoff’s entities. Mr. Chais didn’t return calls for comment.