The man who became the symbol of greed in the world financial crisis will learn his fate today, including the possibility of spending the rest of his life in jail.
New York investment manager Bernie Madoff will face victims of his multi-billion dollar fraud before the judge hands down his sentence. It’s thought at least 50 billion dollars disappeared in Madoff’s complex Ponzi scheme. The prosecution says he should get 150 years; Madoff’s defence would like rather less. Whatever the term, legal experts say Madoff is unlikely ever to be released from his prison cell because of the sheer size of the fraud. Madoff pleaded guilty in March to eleven charges, including securities fraud, money laundering and perjury. But he has refused to implicate anyone else and the only other person charged so far is his accountant. He and his wife Ruth have been stripped of their luxury homes and possessions, although she can keep two and a half million dollars in cash. His victims have told the court of their financial ruin and pleaded for the maximum sentence. They described losing assets saved over generations, being unable to pay mortgages and even for medical care. For them, and other Madoff victims like the giant Santander bank group, even life in jail may not be enough.