This actually makes more sense. When someone is earning $25 million/year legitimately, what becomes more valuable isn't toys or fancy trips or yachts (all of those can be afforded with one year of his legitimate earnings). Instead it's the desire for more power and status. Admitting he couldn't produce amazing returns would have ruined his reputation.
I'm not trying to paint him in a sympathetic light. Far from it. Instead I agree with this author. The moral to take away from the Madoff story isn't that greed is dangerous. Instead, the Real danger is hubris and pathological selfishness.