Bernard Madoff has given his first behind-bars interview to NY Times reporter Diane Henriques, who is writing a book about his massive Ponzi scam, and he now says that other institutions—banks and hedge funds he wouldn't name— had to know his too-good-to-be-true returns were all smoke and mirrors. Madoff said, "They had to know. But the attitude was sort of, 'If you’re doing something wrong, we don’t want to know.'"

However, Madoff asserted that his family members—who are being sued— had no idea that his investment fund, involving $20 billion of real money and $65 billion of "paper wealth," was a huge fake. Nor did the Mets owners, Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz, he claimed. Some more details:

Asked about his cell, he described a room about 12 feet square with a big window looking out on the grounds; he said he had a roommate, the second since he arrived at the prison.

It was clear from the e-mails and interview here that Mr. Madoff closely followed news related to his case in December, the second anniversary of his arrest. He lashed out at what he called some of the “disgraceful” coverage of the suicide of his son Mark on Dec. 11.

Madoff also said that federal prison officials told him they were not granting him permission to go to his son's funeral because of "the public safety issue" and the timing. Madoff believes it would have been "a media circus" and "cruel to my family" to put them through that. You know, as opposed to ruining their lives in other ways.

Madoff also claimed that many of his client made legitimate money from him. He told Henriques, "I would have loved for them to not lose anything, but that was a risk they were well aware of by investing in the market."

Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison in 2009. While he has been working with the court-appointed trustee seeking funds to give to his victims, Madoff's credibility would likely be questioned, given his many lies.