June 29th, 2009
08:04 PM GMT
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NEW YORK – Disgraced financier Bernie Madoff stood up in court in New York on Monday and told some of his victims that "I live in a tormented state for all the pain and suffering I created."

Miriam Siegman’s life has been turned upside down by Madoff’s crimes.
Miriam Siegman’s life has been turned upside down by Madoff’s crimes.

Facing them head on, he said he was sorry - but his words rang hollow.

Speaking to us just after the sentence was handed down, many victims said if Madoff was truly sorry he would have stopped years ago and owned up to his mistakes instead of living a life of luxury.

Others felt bitter that Madoff has not told prosecutors who else was involved and where any remaining money might be hidden.

Victims, who attended a rally after the hearing, are vowing to fight on.

But many acknowledge they will never recoup their life's savings.

One woman, Miriam Siegman teared up as she told how she now lives on food stamps.

She admitted she turned and walked out of the court room when Madoff gave his statement. It was simply too little, too late.

The 150 year sentence Madoff received was the maximum allowed and was based on several factors including the number of victims, the amount of money involved and the damage caused by his acts.

In delivering the sentence the judge said he understood the ruling was largely symbolic since, at age 71, anything over 15 years would likely mean life in jail for Madoff.

But Judge Denny Chin said he wanted to send a strong message to those who would think about perpetrating similar crimes.

This is by far one of the harshest sentences ever handed down for white collar crime in the U.S., but Madoff's crime was unprecedented and has badly damaged investor confidence.

What do you think? Did Madoff get what he deserved or is 150 years overkill? Did he act alone or will the government be successful in charging any accomplices? And will the harsh punishment deter others?

soundoff (87 Responses)
  1. christa

    Yes, but his wife and children should not have received any thing. For her punishment would be, if she had to live on social security only. He was subdued, because he got his and not what he did to these people, he does not care about others.

    June 29, 2009 at 8:20 pm |
  2. Wolfgang Karolinsky - Vienna

    Yes, this verdict will deter others.

    And its – of course – just a sign, bcs to the convict there is no difference between 15 or 150 years

    June 29, 2009 at 8:54 pm |
  3. motruth

    I wonder if the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee (DSCC)returned their $400,000 in donations Madoff gave them over the last 4 years?

    June 29, 2009 at 9:02 pm |
  4. billy

    yes i think he deserved it considering the amount of people affected by what he did, Also, am sure he did not act alone because there is no way that he can pull this off without somebody noticing, he had to have had help. Am not sure if this punishment will deter others because some people would not care and they might think they would never be caught, so they will continue. We will always have people like him.

    June 29, 2009 at 9:03 pm |
  5. Bruce Olson

    It's impossible to believe he acted alone. The depth of his scheme would have needed a small army (or at least a platoon ) of accomplices.

    June 29, 2009 at 9:12 pm |
  6. Jonathan

    There are no winners here. Of course he should never get out of jail but there is no real satisfaction to be found in any of it. Except to reinforce the obvious, which is that greed is evil.

    June 29, 2009 at 9:18 pm |
  7. martin

    I don't think he got what he deserved. More than enough families are suffering from his greed yet his family who "allegedly" might have been his accomplice live in luxury.

    June 29, 2009 at 9:41 pm |
  8. David Synergy

    How about having him interrogated at Bagram or Guantanamo to find out who his accomplices are.

    June 29, 2009 at 9:44 pm |
  9. danny

    YES and Yep defiantly no shawshank redemption for madoff, he will stay! But he can always look at the bright side, he can do the books for the guards and the prison! If you know what I mean.

    June 29, 2009 at 9:47 pm |
  10. Daniel

    i know the pain the lady is facint through, for I too was a victim now living a life of poverty. These ponzi scheme has already destoryed many people and their families. 150 years of prison,.is too light a prison sentence for him, let him feel the torment what he has put others through when he sees his family going down the same road of poverty now thats punishment .

    June 29, 2009 at 9:50 pm |
  11. kirchner-comilon

    Madoff, rot in jail. Hope his suffering equals or surpasses each and every one of his victim's, or else no justice has been made.

    June 29, 2009 at 9:53 pm |
  12. Emanuel

    All, please understand that Madoff was like a little child that had discovered the money pig. He just never expected such a financial crisis that would lead many investors to all of a sudden take off money from his fund. He just never thought (stupid him) that this could happen... Madoff thought he was honest because what he did would never ever be discovered and never ever somebody would suffer...

    June 29, 2009 at 9:56 pm |
  13. Audley (in Jamaica)

    So an example has been made of Mr. Madoff & the implication is he will die in jail, but only after having a considerable time to sit quietly & reflect on the misery he wreaked. But what of Messrs Carlos Hill, David Smith & others who spread their own brand of misery in Jamaica?

    June 29, 2009 at 9:59 pm |
  14. Joseph

    Madoff has masterfully manipulated the court by not revealing who else was involved in the con. Who is he protecting? Investors worldwide need to know

    June 29, 2009 at 10:05 pm |
  15. Lou

    He definitely got what he deserved. However, one is only treating the symptom – while greed remains, individualism reigns supreme, unrestrained consumerism is encouraged and others needs are not considered, this type of crime plus the excesses we have seen before the financial crisis will unfortunately continue. The crash of 1987 is not that long ago yet the lessons have been forgotten. Free market and capitalism is far better than communism/socialism as the human spirit is permitted to flourish and individuals are empowered. However, as well as legal restraints via legislation, individual moral and ethical restraints are required. Families, schools, universities and businesses need to recognise their roles in imparting this education, training and experience.

    June 29, 2009 at 10:06 pm |
  16. chris

    Bruce Olson is right - there were many accomplices, including family, staff and feeder funds and banks world-wide. For a true deterrent to be in place, all must be hunted down and brought to trial and imprisonment. Otherwise it's just Bernie alone, and that could never, ever have been possible on this massive scale over such a long period of time. Those that get away, will simply await the next upswing and opportunity to bleed the next generation of victims or bring birth to a new generation of Ponzi hedge fund operators.

    June 29, 2009 at 10:09 pm |
  17. A.M. Deist, Fort Walton Beach, FL

    As for Madoff, putting him in jail provides no justice for his victims. It would be better for him to work the rest of his natural life to repay whatever he makes to those he cheated. For those who were victims of his Ponzi scheme they should learn the concept of Caveat emptor!

    June 29, 2009 at 10:41 pm |
  18. Mark

    Not long enough. He destroyed numerous lives to enrich himself and his family. They should sieze ALL of his assets, sell them off and give the money to his victims. His family is still living high on other peoples money.

    June 29, 2009 at 11:15 pm |
  19. Tom Winans

    There always is a death sentence ...

    June 29, 2009 at 11:32 pm |
  20. Peter

    Who on this planet could have the slightest bit of sympathy for this despicable creature? Regret, sorrow, embarrassment? Who in their right mind could ever believe that this egotistical sleazebag could ever be capable of feeling any emotion whatsoever other than smug complacency.
    The only thing Bernie will probably ever regret (and which may well account for his "tormented state") is that he couldn't get away with it longer.
    And now we're supposed to feel sorry for his family?

    June 29, 2009 at 11:44 pm |
  21. rick

    I think that the next one in line will not be scared by the extreme 150year sentence. As its only there because of his age and example combi.
    Still i believe that its not madoff who is the responsible, but the whole unknown group with him and especially the security system designed to prevent these things. Also tax offices play a role here. This whole thing stinks to high political influenza which could really rumble the economical system to it knees in this time.

    June 29, 2009 at 11:45 pm |
  22. Michael

    150 years is not too severe. This crime is much more far-reaching than the victims that lost their life savings. Crimes like this ruins investor confidence and the economy as a whole will suffer....which affects everyone. This country can be a much greater country than it is now. However, there are too many people out there scamming and looking to make a quick buck. Dishonesty and lack of trust in our fellow people will be the downfall of this country in the near future.

    June 29, 2009 at 11:46 pm |
  23. Bret

    Of course he deserved the country club that he's being sent to. Please...! He's going to be livng better than 75% of Americans in his up state retreat of a "penitentary." If you really want an amazing documentary on this scam and the players involved. Go to pbs.org and check out the "The Madoff Affair."

    June 29, 2009 at 11:51 pm |
  24. Jim

    I have the same mixed feeling as when the Enron story happened.

    Investment 101 tells you to diversify your investments to reduce your risk, in other words, when you put all your eggs in the same basket (i.e. you put your life savings with the same investment firm, or, in the case of Enron, all of your investments are in the same company stock or 401K) then you take a maximum risk. You returns are maximized too, but if something goes wrong, you lose everything.

    So basically the same greed of becoming even richer than rich drove those investors to Madoff or Enron's stock, they took an incredible risk, and they lost.

    Why should I pity them ?

    June 29, 2009 at 11:57 pm |
  25. Harald Jezek

    Unfortunately, there is no sentence harsh enough that could prevent similar crimes in the future, but it was still important to send this signal to other possible perpetrators.
    It's difficult to know if he acted alone, but it seems unlikely. Hopefully the full truth will come to light sooner or later. In any case, it will be of little help to Madoff's victims.
    There is at least one other culprit and that is the SEC which ignored early red flags. They should be held accountable as well.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:04 am |
  26. James Goranowski

    I really hope there is fact around reincarnation. Then this crook and others like him can spend the next couple lifetimes imprisoned again as an innocent until his 150 years are served.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:22 am |
  27. Daniel

    Madoff is a disgusting individual, he screwed people for so long and now it time for him to see how it feels in prison.

    June 30, 2009 at 12:53 am |
  28. Joe

    truly Hanging him in a public exhibition would have been a fitting punishment. Achieving both a feeling of vindication to his victims as they watched him swing. And to show others contemplating similar crimes that they are not safe. This type of financial malfeasance has to stop.

    June 30, 2009 at 1:00 am |
  29. David Keeble

    I think 25 years in a maximum security prison would have been enough. The sentence will not deter others from doing other schemes. The people that perpetrate these types of crimes are pyschopaths or something along those lines. They have no remorse because they do not know the difference between right and wrong. They are mentally disturbed. Look, the greed was pervasive from the individual investor to the feeder funds, and I mean ALL the feeder funds and banks that were distributing these funds, to the employees of Madoff , and to his family. And let´s not forget the SEC and the other supposed government and industry watchdogs. Anyone that looked close enough at Bernie´s scheme could see that it was not for real, it really was a black box! But greed tends to blur one´s vision looking out the front windshield. Doing the good times everybody was making money thinking who cares how he does it, just keep it coming. To one degree or another all parties involved were quilty.

    June 30, 2009 at 1:06 am |
  30. streetsmart73

    hi there

    1. getting 150 yrs behind bars for the "lifetime" luxuries, not bad for madoff.
    2. honest, he does not act alone.
    3. an idiot can think of that.
    4. his top management, family members auditors and book-keepers etc. they are all in it.
    5. come on america! wake up!
    6. greed begets greed. no one wins in it.

    June 30, 2009 at 1:07 am |
  31. Edward Goldman

    I believe while Madoff is guilty as charged, equally as guilty as charged is the inherently corrupt system of Wall Street trading, which resembles more a La Vegas casino than an actual legitimate business practice based on the fantasy that a company´s valuation may change one day from a few seconds before. Maddoff bece he poster child for corruption and greed and theeap goat artist fo the thousads of others that tradedaily on the simple factor of pure especulation not a company´s true long term performance. Wall Street will inevitably bring this country down.

    June 30, 2009 at 1:20 am |
  32. C. Arthur Young

    It is a just ruling, though as the article suggests it will not provide the victims with adequate compensation.

    A deterrent? No. The problem with greed is that getting caught usually happens after the crime, and losing never stopped a gambler from playing again.

    It's why Vegas is...well, Vegas.

    June 30, 2009 at 1:25 am |
  33. Adam

    I still fail to see the justice in this. Madoff spends most of his adult life in opulent luxury fleecing people, and gets to funnel millions in stolen funds to his family, all for the small price of spending his late Autumn years in jail. His sons/business partners, who of course had no idea this was going on, walk away scott free. His wife, who of course was oblivious to his scam, lives in and from the fruits of his swindel. Even his closing statement was carefully crafted, not to apologize to the victims, but to divert suspicion away from his wife and family. Justice? Please.

    June 30, 2009 at 2:14 am |
  34. Francis Arif

    Madoff lived in greed and lured people to his cycle of greed. Therefore the endgame is not surprising. There is no easy money in this World. Greed is not without dire consequences.

    June 30, 2009 at 2:35 am |
  35. Stan From Calgary

    I have a question. Was it the greed of an abnormal high rate of return that made people put all their money " in one basket "? Many financial advisors are equally as guilty as Madoff. His wife and offspring should end up penniless like those he bilked.

    June 30, 2009 at 2:40 am |
  36. Joel

    Of course Madoff deserves to rot in prison but his sentencing should in no way be the end of the story. The incredible fact that can never be forgotten is that after 20 yrs of running his scam he was NEVER caught. He confessed (to save his family?) , in fact had he not and the economy not gone south , he would still be operating at full speed. Not even a child could believe he acted alone .The SEC was at minimum incompetent and possibly involved in he scheme. His sentencing should be happy news for those who were robbed but in truth will be a very small consolation if ALL those involved are not brought to justice.

    June 30, 2009 at 2:49 am |
  37. Islander

    Give Madoff a break!! Every investment sale is based on the fiction that the market value of the asset will forever increase (or at least for the holding period of the investment), but every investment sales person cherry picks data so he/she can make the crystal ball say whatever they want. Many investments never cash flow or make money and are simply sold to the next "investor" when there is enough upside in the "market value" to make believe they're was an actual return. The asset is just hopefully sold to someone else before the market drops out , and it's the last "investor" that is left holding the bag and is effectively the source of all the previous owners' gains. Don't be mad at Madoff. He's just a convenient scapegoat. Be mad at the system that got the entire economy into this mess.

    June 30, 2009 at 3:12 am |
  38. James Lake

    How many times has this happened in the history of our nation? s&l, 401k's, market crashes. The working class are constantly deprived of thier earnings like clockwork by the elite of this nation, who enjoy absolute luxury in hidden places no-one ever hears about or sees on the news, They want us poor and obedient, ready to jump and serve at thier whim, looking at us like subhuman species. Look at the broader transfer of wealth in the last eight years, We are a nation of slaves to this elite, no better than a third world dictatorship. The greatness of America is a faded dream.

    June 30, 2009 at 3:47 am |
  39. Stephanie Juliana

    Agree with Jim:
    Some people never learn enough until they get their pants on fire...

    Agree with Chris:
    Just wondering why the term Ponzi scheme did not even ring a bell to relevant regulators... (The first similar case was in 1903 by Charles Ponzi) and even "permitting" (??) the so-called invesment firm to be audited by an auditing firm run by Madoff's own brother-in-law, and even "permitting" (??) the firm to claim secrecy over its investment strategy...
    Big and successful companies would have never survived without many hands contributing to its success. Big crimes too!
    So I think 150 years sentence is overkill for Madoff himself to serve. Similar to sharing of profits, each of the dirty contributing hands must also get a share of a series of equal sentences.

    June 30, 2009 at 3:50 am |
  40. pa lou

    His whole family has gain handsomely from his evil deeds. Their wealth should also be recouped to cover the losses of the investors. If it wasn't from their money, the whole family would not be so well off. To see the entire family wealth recouped would certain made him more sorry and more personal. At least now he is still being served and housed courtesy of tax payers. Not so for those who lost everything. I just hope that fellow male prisoners treat him with loving attention. He deserves such love for the rest of his life.

    June 30, 2009 at 4:14 am |
  41. Gyongyoo

    Need to think about prevention.

    June 30, 2009 at 4:54 am |
  42. Paul

    How come his wife was left with $2.5 million? That should have been confiscated as well.

    June 30, 2009 at 5:03 am |
  43. Amit

    I hope this sentence works as deterence to others. Others who are responsible should also be brought to justice. People like him deserve harsher punishment.

    June 30, 2009 at 5:11 am |
  44. Mahlon Barash

    I think all of his assets should be seized and sold and the proceeds distributed proportionately to those who lost the most and who have the greatest need. His family members should not benefit in any way. If they have any ill-gotten assets, these should be seized as well. He should be put in a normal prison with no special amenities – no "country club living". He is truly a criminal and should be treated as one.

    June 30, 2009 at 5:16 am |
  45. Robert Rockaway

    Madoff certainly got what he deserved. But the SEC could have uncovered the crime and saved peoples' savings and lives if they hadn't been asleep at the wheel. As we have learned, government bodies that are supposed to monitor the financial sector and protect the public are riddled with incompetence, carelessness, and unprofessionalism. As a result, clever financial manipulators and crooks will continue to operate. Who knows how many more Madoffs are out there.

    June 30, 2009 at 5:28 am |
  46. G

    It is a joke! So what if he was sentenced to 150 years? He lived up to 71 in luxury on other peoples's money, if he dies today he dies laughing. If he dies in 5 years, he still dies laughing. What about the accomplices, what about his wealth, was it seased? Investigations must continue to find out who they are and where the money is! But the BIG question is, the justice is interested in this or they want to fool the people with one person's sentence?

    June 30, 2009 at 5:32 am |
  47. Nassib Kawar

    More important than the sentence Madoff received is where he has satched away all the money he cheated his victims out of and who his associates in this crime are.

    June 30, 2009 at 5:39 am |
  48. Martin

    Oh please, people invested with him out of greed and he stole their money out of greed. Sending him to jail for 150 years is just another American joke. Should have given him a tiered sentence based on the % of money recovered i.e. if 100% was paid back, let him do community service.

    June 30, 2009 at 5:40 am |
  49. Eva

    Yes, 150 years is "overkill".
    Yes, Madoff was greedy, but the people who lost their money were, too. They thought they could get more by entrusting their money to Madoff instead of others. Many were so greedy that they neglected the rules of common sense. They thought they were so brilliant and could easily beat the game, but were beaten instead. I've got a few shreds of sympathy, but not much more.

    June 30, 2009 at 5:55 am |
  50. J.R M.

    TO>>>>>A.M. Deist, Fort Walton Beach, FL
    You have said the best solution. U are so so right.
    He should not be in Jail...... but out working repaying what he can to those who have met their fates. those that are on food stamps he should be contributing to their living standards and HE should be on food stamps and so should his wife who has benefited by her husbands crimes. Dont tell me she was innocent of his dealings. Being in Jail is not the answer.......it does nothing for anyone who wants justice. So AM.DIEST..
    U are SPOT ON.

    June 30, 2009 at 6:10 am |
  51. Partha

    Tie chains to his hands and legs and let him collect food stamps and eat on road so that he knows the pains what other undergo for life savings and now how they will be leading life on food stamps he has to experiance at 50 times more difficulty than his victims so that it teaches a lesson to others who are doing similar crimes as of I will never in US it is one of the most dangerous places on planet earth unbelievable crime against fellow human beings in some countries he would be stonned to death and atleast others will help the families we have got to see what the gvt will do for it victims may be just food stamps

    June 30, 2009 at 6:11 am |
  52. Suresh

    What difference would 15 years or 150 years make? People that were his accomplice should be tracked downed also charged, maybe that could make a difference!

    June 30, 2009 at 6:12 am |
  53. Nicole

    150 years is ridiculous! The people who invested with Madoff have only themselves to blame. You as an investor need to know what kinds of people you are dealing with and where you are investing! Take some responsibility for your actions people. Learn a lesson: take responsibility for your own finances and investments, instead of blindly trusting others to do it for you. It doesnt matter what Madoff's background was, the SEC are all crooks anyway.

    June 30, 2009 at 6:16 am |
  54. Tom

    I am just wondering how all those investors who received high dividends, and that is why they invested, how those investors did file their income tax returns on those dividends? Did Madoff fake all those tax papers? and everyone accepted in their greed those dividends - and didn't Madoff need a lots of helping hands to create those tax documents? Where are his helpers if not in his family?

    And actually no pity for greed and stupidity on behalf of the investors on my side. How did all those investors save up millions in life savings? Someone had to pay for it who didn't make such high life savings. And why do they need millions as life savings – others get only retirement payments .............

    June 30, 2009 at 6:47 am |
  55. Manuel Vilhena

    Exemplary punishment.

    June 30, 2009 at 6:57 am |
  56. Marc

    Yes, he deserves it (and then some)... he should die in jail, and not be released in a few years, on medical grounds... etc., which is usually the case.

    Now regarding the victims, and I'm sorry if I'm offending anyone, I hope this serves as an example to everyone, that you should never invest all your money in ONE fund!!! Even a little kid knows better than to put all his eggs in one basket...

    Diversify!!! spread your risk!!! ... sure the returns will be a little less, but you don't risk losing everything!!! ... If it looks too good to be true, then it probably is!! ...

    "Greed" is a disease... and that's why I feel sorry for all these victims being interviewed on TV...

    June 30, 2009 at 7:06 am |
  57. SuperRog

    The wheels of justice should not stop turning at 150 years.
    There has to be more co-conspirators in this mess. Madoff turned
    himself in to protect his family from investigation not as his attorney
    argued, he could have taken off to some other country and hid but he
    didn’t because he wanted to do the right thing. And that’s why he should
    have gotten a much lesser sentence. Madoff’s wife gets to keep
    $2 million? And his sons had nothing to do with this scheme?

    June 30, 2009 at 8:05 am |
  58. frank in germany

    madorff is guilty for being the perpetrator. the investors are guilty because they were greedy and lost touch with reality. double digit returns over years, even in economically bad times? give me a break!

    some of these investors probably guessed it was a ponzi scheme and gambled they would get their capital and profits out before the bubble burst, meaning they stole from the investors who invested after them. does that make them accessories to the crime?

    p.t. barnum allegedly said, there's a sucker born every minute. the fact that ponzi schemes exist at all proves that statement. greed rules the world, even in people whom you would not say were "greedy".

    how about buying a bridge in brooklyn or helping some nigerian heir get his millions of dollars out of the country?

    June 30, 2009 at 8:13 am |
  59. howard in thailand

    it takes 2 to tango. this guy only succeeded because of the greedy people who were too lazy to look into what he was doing. in hindsight of course, but the writing was on the wall. he never invested their money in anything..ever. a wise investor might have asked himself why is bernie making money when others are losing?
    the SEC who should have been looking out for the investors did a horrible job. you have former SEC heads, like harvey pitt on the financial networks looking like it did not happen on my watch. madoff was doing this for 20 plus years, right? often people blame others when they fail to take accountability for their own actions.
    investors deserve what they get for not doing their homework. bernie certainly deserves the 150 yrs and most likely we won't see another like him in our lifetimes but then again maybe another madoff is being born right now. people have short memories.

    my best guess is before the end of the year the government will bring indictments to others from the madoff family and from the madoff firm.
    it is doubtful much of the money will be returned. the guy had to eat! it did go somewhere. apparently 'new money' coming in went out to
    pay off 'older investors' . that is what the scheme is but older investors who made their money [profits] and got out should have to give up those 'profits' since no real investments were being made. possibly doing that some of these silly people could get at least part of their initial investments back.

    June 30, 2009 at 8:20 am |
  60. platipus

    In Europe, this man would have received 10 years of jail, because this is only money, not blood. He did not kill any one, simply stole a bunch of people who thought they were smarter than everybody. I personnel enjoy it when the rich still the rich, an unusual combination.

    A decent jail term would have been fair. This absurd verdict is merely a reflexion of this obsession you the Americans have for money. Since when have 150 billions dollars been worth the entire life of a man.We are going through a world crisis because of the greed of America, and this trial is a striking indication that thinks will keep going this way, on and on. Until it all stops.

    June 30, 2009 at 8:25 am |
  61. Bengt A Soeberg

    Investors are not protected. The crooks' best friends are the police, finance inspections and prosecutors. At least in Europe. They do NOTHING. They don't know what to do and e g in Sweden and Austria they don't even speak English. Thus they do not want to cooperate with other countries. Following two faxes to Interpol, Lyon, Mr Ronald Noble, no reply! I am one of thousands of victims of Mark Valentine, Canadian. His where abouts not known, and Edward James Fitzpatrik, recently moved from his nice villa outside Geneva, to Lichtenstein, Vaduz. Where is their Boiler room(s)? In Geneva? In Malaysia? It is high time to alert the authorities and stop this "flu". It is growing as we speak.

    June 30, 2009 at 8:31 am |
  62. Bengt A Soeberg

    Madoff plead guilty just to protect his wife and two sons. They are as guilty as Bernard Madoff. His sons are indeed involved with the crooks I mentioned in my first comment. Their involvement with Artemis Eneregy London, crooks is established. Put them in jail as well.

    June 30, 2009 at 8:37 am |
  63. diana

    Investing one's money can be a good thing, but those who invested in Madoff's "scheme" were naive. Hopefully, they have learned something from their misfortune. You don't make that much money through investments. Somehow, you also have to WORK to earn money.

    June 30, 2009 at 8:38 am |
  64. Simon

    Well in the end it's just money. I have a foster child at the moment who is missing her mother. That is real and concrete to me and heartbreaking. I think the people who have invested should have thought twice.
    If it is too good to be true,it usually is. I have always been taught that you should never invest money you cannot afford to loose because investing money is risky. The best way to get over this is to be honest with oneself about your motives. I think that a lot of the Madoff investors did not investigate the way he woud did things and what his strategy was or how things worked. They just liked the idea of a moneymaking machine (hey I like that idea to) and didn't (want to) do the math involved.

    June 30, 2009 at 8:38 am |
  65. Ken (New Zealand)

    when greed overcomes commonsense, who really can cast the first stone.

    There has not been one comment expressing stupidity and self greed. Diversity in investment may sound conservative but at the end of the day, it will most likely be safe.

    Investment means risk, whether that be low or high, but it is still risk.

    This scenerio has played out for centuries and will continue with human nature. It is not suddenly somenes else fault when it goes wrong, but the individual investor who succumed to their own emotional greed.

    Vengence does not breed prudence – commonsense does.

    June 30, 2009 at 8:50 am |
  66. Jeff

    He should have received the death penalty due to the extent of his crime. When are the judges and legal system going to return to the concept of justice and recognize that a hard line with criminals is the only way to deter them. He ruined many people's lives and just because he did it with the pen and not a sword is no reason to be lenient with him.

    Why does his family get to keep the money of others to live a life of comfort when those whom the money belongs to won't be capable of living in comfort?

    If I were one of the victims, I would be sure to exact my own revenge, the courts are not helping the average citizen.

    Wake up America, demand accountability from our courts for all crimes and victims come first.

    June 30, 2009 at 8:56 am |
  67. Garnett Cross

    The question, is the sentence of Madoff too harsh? No, it should be harsher. For one, Madoff could not have done the scam by himself involving that amount of money. One can only hope that the authorities will continue to investigate where the funds that he embezeled, have been hidden. That amount of money cannot just vanish. Some of his staff are living a life of luxury while some individuals have to live off food stamps.

    June 30, 2009 at 9:04 am |
  68. Freelancer

    Many victims are clever people and thrive in their respective playground. Why they trust him with blind eyes ? Why trapped financiers forgot the obvious they were taught all their lives ? Killing hard the scapegoat may not be enough to deter some unpleasant facts about our human nature.

    June 30, 2009 at 9:04 am |
  69. Babajide

    People should be careful of other Madoffs who are exploiting their gullibility to commit white collar crimes under the guise of weaith management. The FBI should assit to expose such criminals.

    June 30, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  70. Ralf Pirzl

    B. Madoff comited a crime and therefore has to do the time. Having said that, a 150 year sentence for a 71 year old man is only symbolic as the judge said and therefore it is of no practical use. It would have been much more productive to come to an plea agreement with Madoff traiding a lesser sentence for information on other implicated and involved persons. A lesser sentence, in exchange of information, would not make a lot of difference for a 71 year old, but it would have shed light on the real implicated people. Now it will cost a lot of money, taxpayers money, and time, for all the research which has to be done to find out everybody who had been involved in the ponzi scheme.

    June 30, 2009 at 9:43 am |
  71. Manfred - Germany

    Those that he protects will be a continuous threat for investors around the world. They just need another goat.

    June 30, 2009 at 9:45 am |
  72. Jesse

    Personally I think that they should have publically executed him on wall street. It may sound a little extreme, but we are dealing with extreme greed that is destroying / eroding the very foundation of the USA. White collar criminals – especially like Madoff – can severely negatively impact hundreds of more victims that a single blue collar violent offender. Just because they wear a suit while doing the crime should make their punishment any easier. In fact, they should be held to a higher stricter standard because they can do so much damage to so many people simultaneously. Madoff may have single handedly given the world a reason to abandon capitalism.

    June 30, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  73. Marcel

    150 years prison only?
    Too little, too late for what he had done to thousand of people.
    Where are his accomplices, and when shall they receive a warrant?

    June 30, 2009 at 1:17 pm |
  74. Rowny J.Vidot

    As long as we continue to bilk innocent people, we never show remorse. It is when Justice and the truth confronts us in the face and we know the game is up , it is then and only then that we show remorse.

    And God said "Thou shall earn thy bread at the sweat of thy brow" not by preying on innocent victims.

    June 30, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  75. Naya

    The punishment is not enough. He should pay prison food and room rent. How could he have slept and went through life for so many years knowing that he's intentionally deceiving people and taking all their money for his own use? What happened to his soul? The Madoff family (sons and wife) should share their money to those seniors who invested their last money. With Ruth's $2.5 million, she should try to look for the most harshly affected families by the scheme and then send them some money anonymously through the years as her money earns interest (This will help her sleep at night - She said she's pained by what happened.)

    June 30, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  76. Kevin Sheal

    Message is crime pays – (for the spouse at least). She get's to keep $2.5M of these destitute investors money. Like Ken Lay's wife she's laughing all the way to her offshore accounts. The prosecution are always forced to make a deal with these money grubbing harridans.

    June 30, 2009 at 6:49 pm |
  77. Primo

    This is a sad story with a sad ending. The admission of guilt proves little as it will never put food or money on the tables of people who saved and planned their lives living anticipating earnings off the investments that Madoff takes with him to jail.

    The sentencing of Madoff is not enough. We need to see more laws implemented to prevent such crimes, not just scare off potential perpetrators of similar crimes.

    July 1, 2009 at 1:45 am |
  78. Jules

    What about the people at SEC who are suppose to protect the public? Shouldn't they be held responsible too?

    July 1, 2009 at 5:36 am |
  79. Nam(South Korea,Busan)

    He deserves 150 years in North Korea labor camp......

    July 2, 2009 at 12:59 pm |
  80. Steven

    I am so tired of the gloom and doom whining from these blowhard conservatives. Oh no, the Dems have control- the sky is falling!!
    At least the Dems are trying to DO something about our country's
    plate full of problems- that's alot better than sitting on yOUr butt for 8 years and letting everything go to hell as Bush and company did. BUSH TOOK 400 DAYS OF VACATION DURING HIS 2ND TERM !! Remember,
    it was the Repubs back in Nixon's day that coined the phrase "benign
    neglect"- and Bush and co followed that to a T. If you conservatives don;t have anything else to offer but whining- SHUT UP AND GET OUT OF THE WAY.

    July 2, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  81. Sam

    Hypocracy makes me sick, and Made off is the sickness of many. I do not see the world like many d CRIME DOES PAYo. I am for Capital Punishment. Sure mistakes are made but they are more than offset by correct decisions.
    IF and I say IF the death penalty was available then that is what he should have got. Why should the Taxpayer have more expense on supporting him in Prison when a quick jab could have save a lot of money and space for those who were not so crooked. The big problem in Europe is that it is run by too many do gooders NO DEATH PENALTY to crime Blooms, bring it back and crime will fall. Why not commit a crime when you know all you will get is prison time, nice TV, and possibly good food or some drugs to keep you happy until you get early release

    July 8, 2009 at 1:04 am |
  82. guapo

    I am not reading any "investors" mea culpa.

    It looks like that is fine to invest all your money with irrealistic promises. It looks like that is ok to be greedy after all the social censorship is in the other side. What a relief, Maddoff is the only at trial ..........not me, I am not responsible.Everything is in the Madoff side.He is the abuser.

    Madoff is what it is and he received what he deserves but this prey and victim game without the victim confession doesn't help the "investors" to grow, to see their part of the game. Unless they accept their responsibility there is no cure for them.

    no one in the game is better than the other.

    As a conclusion , it is easier to blame the serpent , it is easier to blame Eve but Adan who could say no to the apple's temptation.
    Adan is the responsible.
    We haven't learnt anything

    July 15, 2009 at 9:50 am |
  83. BK201

    He may be greedy and cold hearted but he is the best there is. Respect
    Nobody can achieve such a feet of fraud its impossible, world record.

    July 16, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  84. TPower

    Was there an intention on the part of Mr. Madoff to deceive those investors? Or was it the greed ... the greed to earn an easy money so fast ... on the part of those who invested ... that they failed to analyze the structure of the investment they were going to and the danger it posed to their investments should one pillar of the scheme collapsed? Was it the failure of the regulators to see thru the scheme that brought about the catasthrope? For me ... the regulators should be jailed together with Madoff and the investors should just stay quiet and learn an important lesson ... don't be blinded by fast profits!!!

    July 21, 2009 at 2:40 pm |
  85. Joe White

    Here is a perfect example to the greed that got us in this financial mess and to the lesson learned from it.

    I have just found out that the Union Bank of California hired the top management that was fired by BofA from Countrywide Mortgage

    Countrywide mortgage is the principal culprit for Subprime disaster
    after their collapse they were taken over by Bank of America which fired the top management

    Why would any company hire this people as top executives of their retail banking, may be the fault lies with the U.S. government.
    Because the people that should have been in jail by now, are still out and running another financial institution.

    July 31, 2009 at 12:15 am |
  86. Noemi

    The lesson here, keep and hold all your hard earned money with you and never let anyone manage it for you...

    September 23, 2009 at 6:45 am |
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