By Mike Pomranz
Updated January 17, 2017
swiss miss hot chocolate
Credit: © Julie Thurston Photography / Getty Images

With all due respect to those who lost their life savings to the him, you have to admit, Bernie Madoff was good at running a Ponzi scheme – or at least as good as you can consider someone who is currently serving a 150-year sentence. Scamming people out of $65 billion takes dedication; it was Madoff’s life’s work. So we probably shouldn’t be surprised that the dude is still wheeling and dealing in prison – albeit with far lower stakes: Swiss Miss hot chocolate.

According to MarketWatch, Madoff “fits in” at his new fenced in digs. In fact, Steve Fishman, a journalist who has covered the infamous conman for years, was quoted as saying, “He’s a star in prison. He stole more money than anyone in history, and to other thieves, this makes him a hero.” Apparently, along with that respect comes the ability to get away with things that other inmates might not be able to. “At one point, he cornered the hot chocolate market,” Fishman explained, discussing how Madoff continues to use his business acumen behind bars. “He bought up every package of Swiss Miss from the commissary and sold it for a profit in the prison yard. He monopolized hot chocolate! He made it so that, if you wanted any, you had to go through Bernie.”

Based on that anecdote, you might think that Madoff has finally found a himself running a legitimate business (at least as legitimate as a business can be in prison), until you hear this shady detail: According to Munchies, Madoff’s job at the prison since last February has been working at the commissary… selling things like hot chocolate. Was the Ponzi scheme master able to use this inside access and information to help get an edge while running his Swiss Miss racket? Maybe, but we’ll never know – because the other thing Madoff has been praised for by other prisoners is not ratting out anyone else during his downfall. “He didn’t give anybody up,” former FBI case agent Keith Kelly told ABC News last year. “In the prison society, that’s a stand-up guy.”

So while you’d think getting between a hardened criminal and his hot cocoa on a cold prison night would get a man shanked, in this case, it seems people just accept it as Bernie being Bernie. But a little advice to any you inmates out there: Don’t give Madoff money if he only promises to get you the Swiss Miss later. That’s the oldest trick in his book.