Madoff sentenced to 150 years
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- A federal judge sentenced Bernard Madoff, the convicted mastermind of the largest and most sweeping Ponzi scheme ever, to the maximum sentence of 150 years in federal court Monday.
Judge Denny Chin of U.S. District Court in New York announced the sentence just moments after Madoff apologized to his victims.
Chin, who called Madoff's crimes "extraordinarily evil," said the maximum sentence was important for deterrence, and also for the victims, many of whom erupted into applause after the judge announced the sentence. Many hugged and some of them broke down in tears.
"The sentence imposed today recognizes the significance of Bernard Madoff's crimes," Lev Dassin, acting U.S. attorney, said in a written statement.
The 150-year sentence is the maximum that federal prosecutors in New York requested, based on the number of Madoff's victims, the amount of money he stole and the extent of the damage he caused. Judge Chin said that the Federal Department of Probation had recommended a 50-year sentence.
Victims had urged the judge to dole out the stiffest punishment possible. "We implore you to give the maximum sentence at a maximum prison for this deplorable low life," said one of the victims in court before Madoff spoke. "This is a violent crime without a tangible weapon."
"We are committed to bringing additional charges against anyone else who bears criminal responsibility," said Dassin, in a written statement. "At the same time, we are focused on tracing, restraining and liquidating assets to maximize recoveries for the victims."