On the surface, the Woodlands neighborhood of Tamarac looks the same today as it did a year ago.
The yards of the 890 homes in this single square mile of Northwest Broward are neatly tended. At the clubhouse, elderly men in shorts and polo shirts troop through the clubhouse or zip by in golf carts on their way to the two 18-hole courses. The daily bridge games go on.
But under the surface, this Tamarac neighborhood -- home to 50 victims of investment advisor Bernard Madoff's fraudulent investments -- has taken a blow.
A year ago this week, Madoff was arrested in his Manhattan apartment and charged with the biggest Ponzi scheme in history. The 71-year-old Madoff is now serving a 150-year term in federal prison.
One of the areas hardest hit was the Woodlands, with more victims than Chicago, Los Angeles or West Palm Beach. Many had been investing with Madoff for decades.
Some residents have lost funds set aside for children and grandchildren; some cut back on charitable giving; at least two had to go back to work. Many are so worn out by the attention from lawyers and reporters that they won't talk publicly about Madoff anymore.
"Here are people who planned for their retirement," said Broward County Commissioner Ilene Lieberman, who moved into the neighborhood in 1997 but didn't invest with Madoff. "They thought they invested in a manner that guaranteed them an enjoyable life in their old age. It's hard to find a job at 85. It's a radical change."
In the Woodlands, as in other well-to-do communities, it was word of mouth that brought so many investors to Madoff.
For decades, residents of this manicured enclave -- many of them Jewish retirees drawn here since the 1960s and '70s, when many local clubs barred Jews -- have gathered at the country club.
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