US Disctrict Judge Denny Chin sentenced Bernie Madoff, 71, to 150 years in prison for his more than $13 million Ponzi scheme. Bloomberg has more:
Madoff has been in jail since his guilty plea. At today’s sentencing, none of his family members appeared in court to lend support. A crowd of hundreds waiting outside the lower Manhattan courthouse as the sentencing was pronounced. Nine of his victims told Chin how their lives had been devastated.
“I live in a tormented state,” Madoff told Chin in a five-minute speech after victims had concluded their comments. “I believe when I started this problem, this crime, it was something I’d be able to work out of.”
At the end of his statement, Madoff turned to face a courtroom audience of 250. He pivoted to the right, bowed in the direction of dozens of his victims and told them he would “live with this pain for the rest of my life.”
“I know I did a great deal of harm,” Madoff said in a gruff accent of the New York City borough of Queens, where he was raised. “Nothing I can say can correct what I’ve done.”
The courtroom erupted in applause and shouts after Chin imposed the sentence. Several victims brushed away tears, as Madoff, who wasn’t handcuffed, was let out a side door by two U.S. marshals.
According to the Wall Street Journal’s Ashby Jones, “applause broke out in the courtroom when Judge Chin announced the sentence.” However, Judge Chin did not dish the maximum possible sentence, says Jones, citing two recent examples of smaller-scale fraud that landed perpetrators 845 and 330 years in jail, respectively. Judge Chin reportedly claimed that none of the counts “to which Madoff pleaded guilty carried a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.”
It would have been nice to see a life sentence. Remember Junk Bond King Michael Milken, who in the 1980s was sentenced to 10 years in jail on counts of securities fraud and racketeering? He ended up serving less than two years.
Madoff is 71. He will probably die in jail, but you never know what kind of magic expensive lawyers can work.
And, please, no Club Fed.