President Barack Obama warned graduating students on Wednesday not to follow in the footsteps of swindler Bernard Madoff as they enter the workforce and look for jobs.
The U.S. president, delivering a commencement address at Arizona State University, told a crowd of tens of thousands that big money and fancy titles should not be a priority while the country faced recession and two wars.
“The leaders we revere, the businesses and institutions that last — they are not generally the result of a narrow pursuit of popularity or personal advancement, but of devotion to some bigger purpose,” Obama said.
“The trappings of success may be a by-product of this larger mission, but it can’t be the central thing. Just ask Bernie Madoff.”
Madoff, 71, pleaded guilty in March to operating a huge Ponzi scheme in which early investors are paid with money from new clients. He is likely to spend the rest of his life in prison.