It is the nature of a Ponzi scheme that some people profit. Their testimonials, after all, are what attract the necessary new investors to perpetuate the scheme. Though his earliest investors lost their principal, they accrued significantly higher than legitimate returns for some time. That is to say, Madoff did not pocket every dollar entrusted to him. Many of his investors took home vast amounts, too, and it ought not be callous to say that those who lost their principal might have fared better had they invested in reasonable, lower-interest insured investments rather than chasing a higher yield.
Gordon Gekko said, “Greed is good.” P. T. Barnum said something, too, something about one being born every minute.