Bernie Madoff is the financial villain of our age, sentenced, after pleading guilty in March 2009, to 150 years in prison. Except for the $2.5 million his wife gets to keep, his fortune has been confiscated. So has that of his brother, whose 10-year sentence includes the restitution of $143.1 billion. The scope of his Ponzi scheme led to losses in the tens of billions, and he is surely the symbol of an age of deceit. But Mr. Madoff has become such a punching bag that perhaps some are getting a pass for the excesses of the mortgage-backed securities crisis. Mr. Madoff didn’t cause that crisis, but he may be suffering for it. Naturally, there are thousands of lawsuits worth tens of billions of dollars, and it’s hard to distinguish the victims from the culpable. Other than the odd billion or so that ended up in the pockets of Mr. Madoff or his family, all that money he raised (and pretended that his investment acumen generated) got paid out to other investors. Even after we sort out who knew or should have known, what about the earlier investors who got an undeserved windfall? Where is that money, the bulk of the proceeds from the fraud? The most vexing issues of a financial catastrophe don’t involve the person most responsible. They involve finding out who (liable or not) could have prevented this and figuring out what to do about the innocent people who nonetheless benefited. We will be asking those questions about the Madoff scandal for years, and useful answers will prove a lot more difficult than putting Mr. Madoff behind bars.