The letter from well-known New York attorney Marc Dreier to the Judge regarding his sentencing is illuminating. Dreier committed fraud of nearly $400 million and this week was recommended by the government to receive a sentence of 145 years behind bars. The good news is that he wrote this letter explaining how his ponzi scheme started and ultimately ended when he was caught red-handed. At least Dreier provided a window into why someone would harm so many people and ruin so many lives only to be recognized more. He says he felt that he was not receiving the recognition and financial rewards that he deserved at age 40. Dreier said he wanted to make the letter available to all so that others might learn from it. The letter might provide some insight into why Bernie Madoff did what he did. Madoff must have suffered from the same disease of needing to prove that he was more than he was. Sadly, Dreier’s letter is an example of the downside of reputation building. Reputation is earned. Reputation at any cost is deadly. Reputation without merit is a falsehood.