NORFOLK, Va. - "I met Bernie 30 years ago in mid-April," recalls Andrew Cohen.
At 27, Cohen, now a Virginia Beach resident, walked into Bernie Madoff's New York City firm.
"They were hiring new traders, so I went and interviewed there," Cohen said.
Cohen got the job as a trader, working side by side with Madoff's two sons, Mark and Andy.
"I knew both of his sons well; they were both at my bachelor party," Cohen said.
Cohen also took a liking to Bernie during his 10-year span at the firm. Cohen called him an uncle-like figure.
"Everyone revered him. They would say, 'He is brilliant and has a hedge fund,'" he said.
Cohen invested millions into that hedge fund.
"I left left thinking I was very wealthy and had more money then I could ever spend," Cohen told News 3.
He still had cash wrapped up in it when he left the Madoff firm in 2000.
"All of the sudden, one day I was teaching a yoga class... I looked at my phone and I had like 12 voicemails, and I was like, 'What the heck?'" said Cohen.
Cohen, now an Old Dominion University professor, was sidelined hearing the news that Madoff swindled thousands out of their life savings to the tune of $65 billion. It was the largest Ponzi scheme in U.S financial history.
"I found out that day I was not as rich as I thought," Cohen said.
Cohen didn't have much reaction to the recent death of Madoff. Still branded in his brain is how a man he trusted could fool so many.
"He was looked up to. I had no inkling he was a sociopath and living a total lie," he said
Madoff was serving a 150-year sentence in a North Carolina prison when he died at age 82 on Wednesday.