Monday, June 29, 2009

Madoff Sentenced To 150 Years

Earlier today, self-admitted Ponzi schemer Bernard L. Madoff was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Denny Chin to a 150-year sentence, the maximum for the charges he was convicted on. As reported in's Madoff Gets the Max, by Donna Block:
"Ira Sorkin, Madoff's defense attorney, argued for a 12-year sentence, but
Madoff's victims urged Chin to impose the stiffest of penalties. Chin pushed
aside assertions of remorse and rejected the suggestion from Madoff's lawyers
that there was a sense of 'mob vengeance' surrounding calls for a long prison
term. 'Objectively speaking, the fraud here was staggering,' the judge said. 'It
spanned more than 20 years.'"

Block added, "After the sentencing, victims interviewed on CNBC asked the district attorney of New York and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to continue a much more thorough investigation of the feeder funds and others who worked with Madoff." noted that was live blogging the proceedings.

TheAmLawDaily's post at 11:40 am, 150 Years for Madoff, by Brian Baxter, includes some powerful quotes from Judge Chin:
"I simply do not get the sentence that Mr. Madoff has done all that he could or
told all that he knows," Chin said. As it became clear that Madoff's scheme was
unraveling, Chin cited the jewelry Madoff mailedto family members and other
disbursements made to those close to him. Chin says he didn't agree with the
position of Madoff's lead counsel, Ira Sorkin, that victims were seeking "mob
justice." By any monetery measure, Chin called Madoff's fraud 'unprecedented.'
"The breach of trust was massive--individuals, charities, pension funds,
institutional clients--were all repeatedly lied to when told their [assets] were
in stock when they weren't," Chin said. "Investorsmade important life decisions
based on these fictitious account statements. Madoff also repeatedly lied to the
SEC and other regulators by creating false documents to cover up his scheme....
Chin also noted that not a single letter had been submitted by friends for
family members attesting to Madoff's support of charitable endeavors. Chin
called the absence of such letters and endorsements 'telling.' "

David Glovin, Patricia Hurtado and Thom Weidlich of Bloomberg reported in Madoff Gets 150 Years for Epic Fraud, that Madoff's 150-year sentence was "six times longer than the penalties meted out to the chief executives of WorldCom Inc. and Enron Corp."

As reported by Jack Healy of The New York Times, in Madoff Sentenced to 150 Years for Ponzi Scheme,
"Madoff himself stood up from the defense table to acknowledge the damage he had
inflicted and express regret. “I’m responsible for a great deal of suffering and
pain, I understand that,” the 71-year-old financier told the court. “I live in a
tormented state now, knowing all of the pain and suffering that I’ve created.
I’ve left a legacy of shame, as some of my victims have pointed out, to my
family and my grandchildren.” Addressing his victims seated in the courtroom, he said: “I will turn and face you. I’m sorry. I know that doesn’t help you.”

As noted in the Bloomberg article, Madoff told the Judge, “I don’t ask for any forgiveness." The Bloomberg article adds that Irving Picard, appointed Trustee for Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, filed a letter with the court stating he had received no meaningful cooperation from Madoff. The Bloomberg writers add, "The courtroom burst into applause as Chin imposed the sentence."

AmLawDaily's Baxter reported this afternoon, in his post The Hearing Wraps, that, "Everyone seems to be in a state of shock about Judge Chin giving Madoff the maximum sentence allowable under the law. The general consensus outside the coutroom this morning was that Judge Chin would give Madoff something along the lines of a Bernard Ebbers or Sam Israel verdict of 25-to-30 years in prison. Far from it."

As Baxter noted in his earlier post when the 150-year sentence was meted out, Judge Chin observed, "This is not a bloodless financial crime that just takes place on paper, but one that takes an enormous human toll." Chin added, according to AmLawDaily, "Symbolism is important not only to send a message that individuals will be sentenced to the fullest extent under the law . . . but also for the victims," who he noted include "the rich and not-so-rich."

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