Investment swindler Bernie Madoff was sentenced to spend 150 years in prison for his ponzi schemes. Some of Madoff's victims feel justice was served while others would like to see Madoff receive a harsher punishment for stealing their money.
Bernard Madoff was sentenced Monday to 150 years in prison for fleecing billions of dollars from investment clients across the country, as his victims said the fraud case is anything but closed.
"There is so much going on with this that we don't know about," said Stuart Borg of Northbrook, a 78-year-old retiree who lost money invested with Madoff.
Borg noted that Madoff's wife, family members and others in his inner circle have not been charged. All witnessed his lavish lifestyle, and sons Andrew and Mark had high positions at Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC. "He did not do this alone," Borg said.
Another Chicago area victim, executive search consultant William Baker, said the sentence may give Madoff a warped sense of honor for taking the fall while protecting those close to him. "I think he might have attained a personal victory if he can sit there and smirk about his wife and sons," said Baker, whose Madoff losses were "in the millions."
The FBI and securities regulators continue to investigate the extent of Madoff's fraud, estimated at from $13 billion to $65 billion. So far only an accountant has been charged with helping to cook the books. Prosecutors say Madoff has been unhelpful in locating assets.
"I'm happy with the sentence. I'd be happier to see $50-$60 billion returned to investors," Borg said. He placed an individual retirement account with Madoff in 1993 and received regular payouts until the firm's phony account statements were exposed. Losing the money cost him a "security blanket" in retirement and an inheritance for children and grandchildren, Borg said.
U.S. District Judge Denny Chin handed Madoff, 71, his sentence in a Manhattan courtroom, accepting the government prosecutors' recommendation. Madoff's lawyer had asked for 12 years. The sentence was imposed after the judge heard testimony from victims who branded Madoff "a beast," "a psychopath" and "an evil lowlife." The victims primarily were wealthy, but the losses were personally staggering.
Marian Siegman of Stamford, Conn., told the court Madoff "discarded me like road kill" and that she's been forced to use food stamps and scavenge for food from Dumpsters.
In court, Madoff was unflappable, showing little reaction even to the sentence. After the victims' statements, he made his own to the judge, speaking in a monotone for about 10 minutes: "I believed when I started this problem, this crime, it was something I'd be able to work out of. I made a terrible mistake."
Madoff concluded by addressing the victims directly: "I will live with this pain for the rest of my life. I am sorry. I know that doesn't help."
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