Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Courts Government Businesses The Almighty Buck News

Madoff Sentenced To 150 Years 602

Posted by kdawson
from the bye-bye dept.
selven was one of several readers to send in the news that Bernie Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison. "Bernard Madoff's victims gasped and cheered when he was sentenced to 150 years in prison, but they walked away knowing little more about how he carried out the biggest robbery in Wall Street history. In one of the most dramatic courtroom conclusions to a corporate fraud case, the 71-year-old swindler was unemotional as he was berated by distraught investors during the 90-minute proceeding. Many former clients had hoped he would shed more light on his crime and explain why he victimized so many for so long. But he did not. Madoff called his crime 'an error of judgment' and his 'failure,' reiterating previous statements that he alone was responsible for the $65 billion investment fraud. His victims said they did not hear much new from Madoff in his five-minute statement. They also said they did not believe anything he said. As he handed down the maximum penalty allowed, US District Judge Denny Chin... [said], 'I simply do not get the sense that Mr. Madoff has done all that he could or told all that he knows.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Madoff Sentenced To 150 Years

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 29, 2009 @07:04PM (#28521365)

    Last post!

    -- Madoff

  • Now what about (Score:5, Insightful)

    by al0ha (1262684) on Monday June 29, 2009 @07:07PM (#28521391) Journal
    all the jackasses at the SEC that ignored data again and again which pointed to fraud and enabled him to get away with this for so many years?
    • Re:Now what about (Score:5, Insightful)

      by helbent (1244274) on Monday June 29, 2009 @07:10PM (#28521421)
      Really. The SEC investigated him 3 times over the years and they didn't seem to catch on to the poignant fact that Madoff didn't do a single trade in the past 13 years or so. I wonder what kind of genius you have to be to have those kind of rock-solid blinders on?
    • Re:Now what about (Score:5, Informative)

      by moon3 (1530265) on Monday June 29, 2009 @07:14PM (#28521479)
      Because he was a former head of Nasdaq. He was one of the rule makers. You do not expect the head of the major exchange to be a Ponzi schemer. Just like a head of police is very unlikely to be a drug dealer.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Danse (1026)

        You do not expect the head of the major exchange to be a Ponzi schemer. Just like a head of police is very unlikely to be a drug dealer.

        Sure, but when people keep providing information that suggests that such a thing is true (and really the info did more than just suggest in this case), you should probably really look pretty closely at it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by youngone (975102)
          So, the point seems to be that the system's broke, but as the rule makers get to profit, it won't get fixed. I have read no real comment on the fact that a former head of the Nasdaq is a crook, beyond the mere mention of the fact. Remarkable.
  • DOOOOOOPED! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by 7-Vodka (195504)

    What is the funniest thing ever to me, is that the people who have been dooped once already into losing their money are getting dooped for a second time with all of this disinfo about madolf being the only guy involved.

    There must have been dozens to hundreds of people orchestrating this. But it's ok, we'll pin it all on one guy and see how gullible the public is. This guy is up there with the Lee Harvey Oswalds of patsies.

    • Re:DOOOOOOPED! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Red Flayer (890720) on Monday June 29, 2009 @07:21PM (#28521569) Journal

      There must have been dozens to hundreds of people orchestrating this. But it's ok, we'll pin it all on one guy and see how gullible the public is. This guy is up there with the Lee Harvey Oswalds of patsies.

      I'm not sure you're aware of how the world of high-finance works. There have been hedge funds handling over $10B with FIVE employees. Seriously.

      I think it's very likely that there were others in-the-know. But they probably worked out a plea to provide documentation to nail the case against Madoff, which is why they won't be prosecuted. Or Madoff is looking for redemption after perpetrating this fraud, and decided to shoulder the rap for everyone else involved. I think the last option is the most likely, and I think that his sons were who he was protecting.

      But it doesn't really matter, does it? These were the extremely wealthy who were conned. As long as someone gets hanged (or imprisoned forever) we don't care. Hell, look at the swindling by Enron execs... that directly affected the retirement savings of millions of people, and in the end, we didn't really care.

      As far as the general public is concerned, it's not a big deal when the wealthy steal from the wealthy. That's business by another name. And it's not a big deal when the wealthy steal from the poor -- that's business as usual. All we really care about is when the poor steal from the wealthy, because we always look down on those poorer than us, we like to imagine ourselves as wealthy, and so when the poor steal, it's an affront to our ideals.

      Anyway, I'm rambling a bit... so I'll just sum up by saying: Yes, others were likely involved. Yes, he took the fall. But no one cares, as long as there's a spectacle.

      • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Monday June 29, 2009 @07:51PM (#28521909)

        But it doesn't really matter, does it? These were the extremely wealthy who were conned.
        As far as the general public is concerned, it's not a big deal when the wealthy steal from the wealthy.

        Excuse me, but...

        I lost my job over this when my employer tanked because of Madoff's scam, and I never had a dime invested with him. This has affected all kinds of people!

        • by carlzum (832868) on Monday June 29, 2009 @08:49PM (#28522581)
          You can find a list of investors [wsj.net] at the WSJ's site. There are a lot of schools, pension plans, and non-profits on the list that were significantly harmed, it's not a simple case of the wealthy stealing from the wealthy.

          On a lighter note, Madoff has an impressive Bacon Factor of 1. The actor wouldn't confirm how much he gave Madoff, but let's hope it was way less than the $10 million Zsa Zsa Gabor claims to have lost. I shudder at the thought of the horrible movies a financially desperate Kevin Bacon would churn out.
      • Re:DOOOOOOPED! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by FooAtWFU (699187) on Monday June 29, 2009 @08:03PM (#28522063) Homepage

        But it doesn't really matter, does it? These were the extremely wealthy who were conned.

        Sure. The extremely wealthy. And, also, charities. What do you think of stealing $15 million from The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity? Maybe $24 mill from New York University or $3 million from Bard College bothers you? I wonder what United Association Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 267 in Syracuse thinks about your blanket characterization which indicates that their loss (still under calculation) doesn't matter.

        (For reference, the victim list [wsj.net].)

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Chris Burke (6130)

          He was talking about it not mattering from the perspective of the general public's reaction and outrage. He was explaining why we let a patsy like Madoff take the rap and that's it. And he's right. Yes people get mad, and the people directly affected by it stay mad, but the rest of the country just kinda shrugs and moves on. Same with Enron. There just aren't the same kinds of reactions to this white-collar crime, even if it ends up being more devastating than other kinds of crime.

  • I'm not sure he really did know how bad things were, except for perhaps at the very end... for a long time I'm not sure he thought himself he was defrauding anyone.

    I'm not sure even he himself can tell us exactly how this happened, beyond the fact it just did...

    Sad how many people grew to be hurt by one mans illusions.

    • by jamstar7 (694492) on Monday June 29, 2009 @08:39PM (#28522475)

      I'm not sure he really did know how bad things were, except for perhaps at the very end... for a long time I'm not sure he thought himself he was defrauding anyone.

      He ran NASDAQ for fuck's sake. That takes some serious economic knowledge as well as some heavy connections. That kind of background, he knew what he was doing. Ponzi schemes are not hard to spot if you know what to look for. He knew. He knew the bottom would drop out someday, and just bet that it would happen after he croaked. He lost.

  • Madoff is content (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Red Flayer (890720) on Monday June 29, 2009 @07:13PM (#28521463) Journal
    I've thought this since news of the scandal broke:

    You know why Bernie Madoff seems to be very complacent about the whole thing? Because his sons got off scot-free. Madoff is quite fine with sacrificing his freedom for the rest of his life... there are few things more [noble? gratifying?] than sacrificing yourself for your children.

    I still believe it very unlikely that Bernie's sons didn't knowingly participate in this... or at least were aware of it. The whole way that the story broke... Madoff confessed to his son when he caught him trying to cover it up or something... then the sons convincing him to turn himself in...

    I think Bernie is at least partly taking the fall for his sons. I only wish we could find out the whole truth.
    • by Knara (9377)
      Well, in lieu of going bankrupt and free, he'll be in a medium security prison (at most) for the rest of his life and living on the public tab. So, for a couple decades he got to live the life of a billionaire, and now he'll take it easy on our dime until he dies. Sounds like a plan to me.
      • You do know that since he was sentenced for over 30 years, at least part of his time will need to be served in a maximum-security prison, right? That's the law.

        I'm just being idealistic. In reality, he will be granted some special exemption and be allowed to serve at Middle-of-Nowhere-Federal-Golf-Resort-Penitentiary.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by whoever57 (658626)

      I still believe it very unlikely that Bernie's sons didn't knowingly participate in this... or at least were aware of it

      Since Madoff's fund did not make a single trade for 20 years (or was it for the fund's existance?), I find it impossible to believe they did not know, unless they collected their huge salary checks for doing precisely nothing.

      I wonder how that defence will fly when the son's are sued: "Your honor, members of the jury, my clients should not have to repay the millions of dollars that th

    • Re:Madoff is content (Score:5, Informative)

      by Marcika (1003625) on Monday June 29, 2009 @08:01PM (#28522043)

      I think Bernie is at least partly taking the fall for his sons. I only wish we could find out the whole truth.

      It is very very obvious that the sons knew. The 5+ million dollar loans that each of them received from daddy just before the arrest (never to be repaid, obviously), the sham divorce proceedings that son Andrew and is wife went through right after daddy's arrest (only to be seen splurging on shopping together just days after), the mailing-out of jewellery and other untraceable assets to the sons and the families... That all is very obvious. (Less provable is of course the origin of the rest of their wealth... Tens of millions in real estate in Manhattan and Greenwich each, etc etc)

  • Oh great! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by countertrolling (1585477) on Monday June 29, 2009 @07:15PM (#28521495) Journal

    He gets room and board on our dime. They should put a zapper-collar on him and cut him loose. Then garnish every dollar he makes. Let him stay at the Y and work for Mickey Ds. Then again we deserve this for not watching over and voting out the corrupt politicos. It's the voters' fault as much as anybody's. I don't care why he did it. We all know why. A lot of people are tempted to do the same thing if they think they won't get caught. And it's we who let them get away with an awful lot every election cycle. Maybe because many of us would like to get away with this ourselves if we thought we had a chance. He represents a pretty broad spectrum. So fuck him, and fuck all those who reelect the crooks who make all this possible.

  • Sentance (Score:4, Funny)

    by LaminatorX (410794) <sabotage@NoSpAm.praecantator.com> on Monday June 29, 2009 @07:17PM (#28521521) Homepage

    With time off for good behavior, he could be out in 127.5 years.

  • by Trailer Trash (60756) on Monday June 29, 2009 @07:21PM (#28521575) Homepage

    Seriously, it's impossible to get rid of $65 Billion without having something valuable to show for it. So far they've gathered the low 9 figures of $ from him, less than 1% of the money.

    • by jonbryce (703250) on Monday June 29, 2009 @07:27PM (#28521625) Homepage

      Most of the $65bn never existed in the first place. The rest would have been handed out to customers who had withdrawn money in the past.

      The $65bn is what his clients thought they had in their accounts with him, but a lot of that can be attributed to fictitious gains that he reported on their accounts.

    • by Red Flayer (890720) on Monday June 29, 2009 @07:38PM (#28521779) Journal
      He never really had $65 Bn.

      On paper he did, but that's just because he had overstated clients' gains from the get-go.

      Here's what happens:

      Investor A gives you $5 Bn.
      Investor B gives you $10 Bn.
      After 3 years, investor A pulls out -- you pay him $10 Bn in earnings & principal.
      So now you have $0, but you owe Investor B $10 Bn plus earnings.
      So what do you have left?

      Madoff overstated earnings for a long time. This meant for every $1 Bn invested, he had to pay out some n*$1 Bn when that investor called. Eventually he had no money left to pay the investors.

      In other words, that $65 Bn isn't squirreled away somewhere (well, I'm sure some of it is) -- it was used to pay off other investors who withdrew their earnings.

      The money's not in the Swiss bank accounts. It's in Bob's yacht, and Bill's mansion in the hills. It's in Mary's diamond necklaces, and in Elizabeth's matching Ferraris.
    • Now the suckers want that money back from the IRS.

      12% compounded, cap gains are 27% (not sure).

      Assume the Ponzi scheme had a 'cap gains tax leak' (redemptions to cover taxes) of 3% per year.

      To get to 65 billion in fictitious value at 12% compounded over 20 years would require an initial investment of about 6.5 billion. I know it didn't happen this way, actual principle was much higher as most investors came in late. Still an interesting number.

      3% of 65 billion is about 2 billion in cap gains per ye

  • by microbee (682094) on Monday June 29, 2009 @07:46PM (#28521859)

    How about all the clients who did everything they could to have the privilege of being Madoff's clients? I mean heck what were they thinking while they saw their accounts having unbelievable returns? They might as well take some responsibilities.

  • Tag "republicans" (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mathx314 (1365325) on Monday June 29, 2009 @07:51PM (#28521911)
    Can I ask why this article is tagged "republicans"? Bernard Madoff isn't one, since he gave 88% of his political spending to the Democratic party (source [latimes.com]). Nor is Judge Denny Chin a definite Republican (his affiliation is unknown). Alright, so some of the victims were, and probably some of the conspirators, but there's no reason this should be tagged the way it is.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by hedwards (940851)
      It's tagged Republicans because they were the ones that deregulated the markets, filled the SEC with people that they believed would look the other way and were by and large the loudest voices decrying efforts to keep tabs of what they're doing.

      Of course he gave most of his money to the Democrats for God's sake, you don't give a lot of money to the people that are on your side regardless. You give money to people who you want to sway in your direction.
  • Where do I sign up? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Maxwell (13985) on Monday June 29, 2009 @09:05PM (#28522721) Homepage

    Fifty years of the most luxurious lifestyle imaginable, every financial dream at your dospaoals, walthy than the ealthiest kings - without all the hassle.

    Followed by 2-5 years in prison and a quiet death?

    I'll take it. Where do I sign up?

    Real punishment would be making him work to pay something - ANYTHING- back. Not to the people he fleeced, who were almost as greedy, but to soceity as whole. Now taxpayers have to pay to house and feed this guy! Make him work as a waiter, or cold call salesman or some other crap drop until he drops dead. Every penny gets invested into a trust fund for children's education or some other noble cause.

  • by tie_guy_matt (176397) on Monday June 29, 2009 @09:18PM (#28522845)

    He just needs to find a couple of inmates that are willing to do a couple more years of his jail time in order to be part of his plan. Those inmates need to find more people willing to do a couple more years of the jail time of all the people who got into the scheme before them, and those inmates need to get even more inmates willing to do more jail time. Soon Madoff will have enough sucker... I mean inmates to cover his time. Of course the last person in will need to do like 10000 years of jail time but then it will be up to the government to figure out how to keep the last inmate alive for that long.

  • by Rick Bentley (988595) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @12:47AM (#28524345) Homepage
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/30/business/30bernietext.html [nytimes.com]

    Following is a transcript of Bernard L. Madoffâ(TM)s statement to the court during his sentencing, as provided by the court:

    Jine Lee/Bloomberg News " Your Honor, I cannot offer you an excuse for my behavior. How do you excuse betraying thousands of investors who entrusted me with their life savings? How do you excuse deceiving 200 employees who have spent most of their working life working for me? How do you excuse lying to your brother and two sons who spent their whole adult life helping to build a successful and respectful business? How do you excuse lying and deceiving a wife who stood by you for 50 years, and still stands by you? And how do you excuse deceiving an industry that you spent a better part of your life trying to improve?

    There is no excuse for that, and I donâ(TM)t ask any forgiveness.

    Although I may not have intended any harm, I did a great deal of harm. I believed when I started this problem, this crime, that it would be something I would be able to work my way out of, but that became impossible. As hard as I tried, the deeper I dug myself into a hole. I made a terrible mistake, but it wasnâ(TM)t the kind of mistake that I had made time and time again, which is a trading mistake. In my business, when you make a trading error, youâ(TM)re expected to make a trading error, itâ(TM)s accepted. My error was much more serious. I made an error of judgment. I refused to accept the fact, could not accept the fact, that for once in my life I failed. I couldnâ(TM)t admit that failure and that was a tragic mistake.

    I am responsible for a great deal of suffering and pain. I understand that. I live in a tormented state now knowing of all the pain and suffering that I have created. I have left a legacy of shame, as some of my victims have pointed out, to my family and my grandchildren. Thatâ(TM)s something I will live with for the rest of my life. People have accused me of being silent and not being sympathetic. That is not true. They have accused my wife of being silent and not being sympathetic. Nothing could be further from the truth. She cries herself to sleep every night knowing of all the pain and suffering I have caused, and I am tormented by that as well. She was advised not to speak publicly until after my sentencing by our attorneys, and she complied with that. Today she will make a statement about how she feels about my crimes. I ask you to listen to that. She is sincere and all I ask you is to listen to her.

    Apologizing and saying I am sorry, thatâ(TM)s not enough. Nothing I can say will correct the things I have done. I feel terrible that an industry I spent my life trying to improve is being criticized terribly now, that regulators who I helped work with over the years are being criticized by what I have done. That is a horrible guilt to live with. There is nothing I can do that will make anyone feel better for the pain and suffering I caused them, but I will live with this pain, with this torment for the rest of my life. I apologize to my victims. I will turn and face you. I am sorry. I know that doesnâ(TM)t help you. Your Honor, thank you for listening to me. â
  • by rs232 (849320) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @07:41AM (#28526359)
    Does that mean he'll be 221 when he gets out ?

This place just isn't big enough for all of us. We've got to find a way off this planet.

Working...