June 29, 2009 11:40 AM
Live Blogging the Madoff Sentencing: 150 Years for Madoff
Posted by Brian Baxter
Judge Denny Chin has sentenced Bernard L. Madoff to 150 years in prison. Chin gave Madoff the maximum sentence on all 11 counts, which will be served consecutively. For a brief moment, the courtroom erupted with applause.
Chin deferred the issue of restitution for 90 days.
"I simply do not get the sense 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 mailed
to 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. "Investors
made 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."
While Madoff tried to pay back investors, Chin says the presentencing memo shows that Madoff withdrew millions of dollars to cover personal expenses of family and friends, such as "the acquisition of two yachts
and four country club memberships."
While Madoff also turned himself in to the FBI, Chin said it was apparent that Madoff knew he was going to be caught soon and sought to turn himself in beforehand.
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
"This is not a bloodless financial crime that just takes place on paper, but one that takes an enormous human toll," said the judge. "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. Mr. Madoff's betrayal struck at the rich and not-so-rich."
Chin seemed particularly moved by all the letters from victims the court has received. He references several of them, noting one in particular, that of a widow who gave her life savings with Madoff
after the defendant consoled her at the funeral of her husband.
"The victims put their trust in Mr. Madoff and that trust was broken, leaving those victims to doubt our financial system and the government's ability to protect its citzens," Chin said.
After Chin rendered his sentence, Sorkin asked the judge to make a recommendation to the Bureau of Prisons to have Madoff serve his sentence somewhere in the northeastern U.S. Chin agreed.
Chin asked Madoff to rise once again and informed him of his right to appeal. Madoff was then led out of the coutroom by U.S. marshals.
Chin then adjourned the proceedings.
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