It can apparently buy one's freedom. This alert just in from The New York Times:
Madoff to Remain Free on Bail With New RestrictionsWhat do you think your odds are of receiving the same treatment?
A federal judge on Monday rejected the prosecution's request to revoke Bernard L. Madoff's bail and send him to jail. Instead, the financier, who is accused of running a huge Ponzi scheme, will remain under house arrest in his luxury apartment on Manhattan's Upper East Side, guarded by private security guards paid for by his wife.