Bernard Madoff Deserves The Life Sentence He’s Likely To Get

December 20, 2008

(ChattahBox) — While this devastating fraud case still remains somewhat clouded in mystery as Mr. Madoff’s version of events can only be drawn from statements attributed to him by federal prosecutors, as he has not commented publicly on the case.

But this much we know, Bernard Madoff’s worldwide $50 billion Ponzi scheme lasted longer, reached wider and cut deeper than any similar scheme in history, entirely eclipsing the puny regional ambitions of Charles Ponzi, the Boston swindler who gave his name to the scheme nearly a century ago.

It all began to unravel as investors, rattled by the financial crisis and reaching for cash, started taking money out faster than Madoff could find new victims to bring fresh cash in the door. He was arrested on Dec. 11 at his Manhattan apartment and charged with securities fraud, turned in the night before by his sons after he told them his entire business was a fraud.

Many of Wall Street’s elite are dropping faster than the financial markets they work in. In June, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn, N.Y., charged former Bear Stearns hedge-fund managers Ralph Cioffi and Matthew Tannin with lying to investors about their funds’ true value and prospects. And in September, the FBI revealed that it is investigating the people who ran Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers and AIG, all of which were casualties of this year’s market meltdown.

This ‘alleged’ reprehensible conduct has crippled the nation’s financial system and will cost investors and taxpayers billions. And the punishment should fit the crime.

Most big-time fraud cases are prosecuted in federal court, where the federal guidelines largely control sentencing. Using a complex set of calculations, those guidelines mechanically sort criminals into different “offense levels” based on different aspects of their crimes. Higher offense levels reflect more harmful conduct and give rise to longer prison terms. Offense-level assignment, in turn, is fixed largely by measuring ostensibly discernible quantities, such as the amount of drugs in a narcotics case or, in cases involving fraud, the amount of money lost.

Jeffrey Skilling was found guilty of causing losses to Enron shareholders of more than $1 billion and was given a 24-year-plus sentence. WorldCom’s former chief, Bernard J. Ebbers got 25 years based principally on the $2.2 billion loss suffered by his company’s shareholders. Some contend these stiff sentences are out of proportion to the average sentences for crimes like murder (twenty-two years), kidnapping (fourteen) and sexual abuse (eight).

In some ways this does seem out of whack with violent crimes, but one could argue that these fraud cases actually require a great deal of pre-meditation and ultimately cause untold suffering and literally destroy many lives. Some would also argue that economic offenders pose little future threat because they’re generally stripped of powers that would permit continued criminal conduct, but it does not strip them of their ill-gotten wealth and the lives they lead before they were caught, supported by the crimes they committed.

There are checks in our legal system to allow judges to use common sense to reduce radically long sentences produced by the guidelines. But I for one hope they don’t in Madoff’s case presuming he’s found guilty.


20 Responses to “Bernard Madoff Deserves The Life Sentence He’s Likely To Get”

  1. RBA on December 20th, 2008 1:47 pm

    The rich make the rules…the rich protect the rich.
    I dont think one dime should be spent to protect him.
    Public lynching for these crooks is too humane.
    This slime should be placed on the NY streets in his underwear.
    Further his House Arrest GPS unit coordinates should be provided on a real time basis to all the people he ripped off.

  2. Dean on December 20th, 2008 2:38 pm

    unfortunately, that’s the way it works in this unfair world; those of us that play by the rules and work hard for our money always get screwed in the end; those that break the rules, lie, and are full of deceit always prosper and screw others; this piece of trash will get off with a minor slap on the hand; its not fair, but it’ll happen, you’ll see. i have very little faith in our government and the justice system. as long as you wave a wad of cash under the right person’s nose, they’ll get off.

    i agree with you RBA, this jerk needs to be stripped of every single possession he owns, down to his socks and underwear; this guy doesn’t deserve to continue living in his posh home, and living his lavished lifestyle; house arrest my ass; what a punishment; this world is fucked up.

  3. JPS on December 20th, 2008 3:23 pm

    Dean & RBA: I agree wholeheartedly with both of you. His only defense: (to quote Eli Wallach in “The Magnificent Seven'”
    “If God had not meant them to be shorn, he would not have made them sheep.”

  4. Christopher Anderson on December 20th, 2008 5:11 pm

    Whle i think that this man needs to be punished (extensively), I also think that there must have been pressures on him that we can hardly even comprehend. i mean, i have not been in this man’s shoes these last years that he has been living this big lie, nor would i want to.
    the way i understand it, this guy must have one day had a loss, so he figures ok, i can cover it one time by “borrowing” some new investors money. Then i’ll make it back. but it doesn t happen that way. it happens like in the casinos where you just keep losing.
    can u imagine having to manage billions of dollars of the worlds riches, most famous people and having to step up and say, ok, i screwed it all up. im just wondering how many of us would have the guts.

  5. Elliot Ness on December 20th, 2008 5:20 pm

    Pyramid schemes have been around for a very long time and always involve a group of conspirators – those at the top of the pyramid who benefit by bringing in the “investors” and their money. One person (one family) does not “pull-off” a large pyramid scheme. When the pyramid collapses the co-conspirators at the top of the pyramid feign well-rehearsed shock and try to blend-in with the actual victims but they are nevertheless knowing participants in the scheme. This is common knowledge easily gained in Pyramid Schemes 101 or Ponzi Schemes for Dummies. I have not seen it yet but investigative reporters should be chasing down the co-conspirators in “The Big Big Pyramid Scheme” like junk-yard dogs trying to get their teeth into a burglar’s butt.

  6. Webster on December 21st, 2008 10:58 am

    I think it’s time to rename it… The Madoff Scheme

  7. Madoff on December 21st, 2008 11:03 am

    This waste of human life should be put to death…make an example of him…Taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for his Sh*T in jail. Death is what deserves. NO less than that.

  8. Bob on December 21st, 2008 11:16 am

    Why isn’t Medoff in jail. A poor person who stole a loaf of bread to feed their family would go to jail. The rich are treated different – not fair in our democratic society.

  9. rosalie withey on December 21st, 2008 12:11 pm

    he should be stripped of all his homes,bank accounts,jewery, and his butt should in in prison. it just isn.t right that rich people are tried with kid gloves and all of us poor people have to pay.
    make this right for all the people that lost.

  10. Clyde Seckel on December 21st, 2008 1:05 pm

    Mattdorf deseves everything he gets , but where was the SEC. many are getting
    paind off. This all needs to be investgated and the guilty need to pay the piper.
    The SEC cant control a box of cracker jack.

  11. John Greenough on December 21st, 2008 1:29 pm

    Madoff flies with the mighty. It has taken me years to figure out that we, the people, are the afids on which the ant like rich and mighty milk for their sustance. But we are to be shorne and not flayed as the saying goes.

    Why he is under house arrest in the absence of having paid bail is beyond me. If he were a Puerto Rican in NYC or a Palestinian in Haifa he would be under the jail with the key lost. A long stretch in the general population in Attica would be justice served. His wife gets zilch in her old age.

  12. Scott Loiselle on December 21st, 2008 4:21 pm


    We’re all in the same boat. Life tries to teach us all the difference between money and wealth but it’s a damn hard truth to learn. Whether you’re a mover-and-shaker playing with billions or a little guy like me trying to make ends meet, we’re all affected by a society that consistently and relentlessly pushes the image of wealth as someone accumulating more and more ‘stuff’.

    Wealth really is peace-of-mind, isn’t it? Thinking about wanting what you have instead of having what you want. Waking up joyful because you love the life you have rather than suffering from an insatiable hunger and need for more and more (boats, homes, money, etc etc etc).

    Nothing they do to Madoff will affect me one way or the other. I just feel the same way about him as I do about Cheney and Bush. Please just go away and never come back so the rest of us can focus on repairing the damage, as best we can.

  13. FJ Mueller on December 21st, 2008 6:34 pm

    The Madoff story is such Bull, do you really think this guy would be able to take down 50 billion. This is all just bull$%&* spin to justify more shorts in the market and clear out the rest of your pension plans by the real carpetbaggers. I have hundreds of thousands in the bank and I can’t even get a refinance on a mortgage let alone a discover card and someonew is going to turn over 50 billion to this fellow. . .I don’t think so! Come up with a better fall guy next time spin machine at least make it a the true culprit like the 800 trillion in derivetives.

  14. Bill on December 22nd, 2008 1:57 pm

    Anyone read the Bible lately?

    Here’s some key verses:

    “The righteous man is rescued from trouble and it comes on the wicked instead.” Proverbs 11:8

    “The blessing of the Lord brings wealth and he adds no trouble to it.”
    Proverbs 10: 22

    “The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry, but he thwarts the craving of the wicked.” Proverbs 10: 3

    “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever Believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting Life.” John 3:16

  15. gene on December 23rd, 2008 5:33 pm

    in response to harlan protess’ article,here again we have the upper class trying to defend a person who has ruined peoples’ lives throught out the united many have nothing now. u sit there trying to figure out one day u are living (on your retirement money) which u think u have enough of and now there is nothing.what mental stage do u think those people are in ..some will, over time, give up mentally .. which is a form of suicide.when one rapes a person, kills them, or some other crime.. u will try to justify that his penalty is too severe.the crimes u mention affect maybe 3>10 people.the crime this man committed will affect maybe hundreds/thousands..sure, the rich involved have money and will live a good life no matter what… what happens to the people who end up with nothing..answer me this.. look at the backgrounds of the companies who recently have affected hundreds and hundreds of lives and the men who run them..companies like bear
    sterns, merrill lynch, lehmann bros, goldman sachs, ect it the protocol of people like this who screw others.. please, i would like a response…Gene

  16. Chris on December 23rd, 2008 10:58 pm

    He should do the honorable thing and kill himself. Really. Do we need to waste the tme and resources to put him in jail for te rest of his pathetic life? Save us the taxpayers dollars, since you already blew so much of your ‘Customers” dollars and blow your fricking brains out – I’ll spare the bullet, jerk.

  17. James Durst on December 24th, 2008 8:58 pm

    He should be tried to a pole and everyone he bilked .Should get a chance to take a piece of skin from his body, like the indians would have done!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Yet, he gets to spend his holiday in his penthouse apt. worth millions of $$$$$$$$$$ while the average person would be sitting in jail???????????
    Justice for everyone in america is just a big joke!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. gene on January 14th, 2009 5:20 pm

    madoff should be in jail period. if a person steals a tv set or what ever they are put in jail. this systems is run by the likes of madoof bear stears golman sachs ect who are screwing up peoples lifes ,this is america ?? the greed of people like this that are in congress the house who steal every day have the golden hyway.i have not heard of anyone going to jail in the white collor open casino called american the mafia were the bad guys are u kidding the white collor crooks make them look like kids……

  19. Greg on February 14th, 2009 11:24 pm

    What a piece of shit this guy is. At least he did something right, in a sense that his own family turned him in, they have morals. GREED is a killer, litterally. I mean, you look at this guy, and his face, it realy has evil written all over it, certainly not a wolf in sheeps clothes. I mean, cant a person be content with just enough money to live and be comfortable, its almost a disease for some. It never fails that you will find the people with the most money, tend to be the most miserable, aint that something!!

  20. j.p. on March 7th, 2009 8:28 am

    Madoff’s family needs to go down with him. There is no way the wife did not know what he was doing, unless, she is mentally disabled. And, the fact that his sons turned him in tells me only one thing, that it was a set-up by old Bernie himself. I think he knew that Harry Markopolos was about to finally nail him and he called the “boys” in and told them what to do. He probably hoped that it would make them look like “decent” and “honest” citizens and they would get to keep their money. HE is going to need it.

    I am so sickened by these wealthy crooks, including Donald Trump. And, when I heard Ivanka Trump on Squawk Box last week claiming that what is happening is class warfare against the wealthy, I wanted to punch her out through my own TV.

    Send them all to jail. They are all dirty, rotten no good lying sacks of crap. I would love to see blood in the streets, it is time for these thieves and liars to realize, their time is OVER.

    We should declare war on these malevolent monsters, just like our grandfathers fought Hitler, because these PIGS are almost as bad.

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