Madoff lawyer seeks 12-year sentence for client

Madoff lawyer seeks 12-year sentence for client
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First Published: Tue, Jun 23 2009. 08 20 PM IST
Updated: Tue, Jun 23 2009. 08 20 PM IST
New York: Bernard Madoff’s lawyer has told a judge scheduled to sentence the disgraced financier next week that 12 years in prison would be sufficient punishment for his client.
Madoff has admitted that he swindled tens of billions of investor’s dollars in one of history’s biggest frauds.
Attorney Ira Sorkin also said in court papers made public on Tuesday that his 71-year-old client “will speak to the shame he has felt and to the pain he has caused” when US District Judge Denny Chin sentences him on Monday.
“We seek neither mercy nor sympathy,” Sorkin wrote. But he urged Chin to “set aside the emotion and hysteria attendant to this case” as he determines the sentence.
Janice Oh, a spokeswoman for federal prosecutors in Manhattan, said that the office had no comment.
Madoff faces up to 150 years in prison after pleading guilty on 12 March to 11 felony counts including securities fraud and perjury. He admitted operating a massive pyramid scheme for decades.
Sorkin said a sentence of a dozen years in prison would acknowledge Madoff’s voluntary surrender, full acceptance of responsibility, meaningful cooperation efforts and the nonviolent nature of his crime.
Still, the lawyer added that a prison term of 15 to 20 years would not disproportionately punish Madoff compared to sentences given other white collar criminals.
“Indeed, such a range will appropriately eliminate concerns for disparate treatment among similarly situated nonviolent offenders,” he wrote.
The lawyer included in his submission to the court late on Monday an analysis of sentences given to defendants in fraud-related cases between 1999 and 2008 that concluded the average sentence when leniency was not provided was 15.3 years in prison.
He also noted that Madoff’s age would leave him with an average life expectancy of 12.6 more years.
In his submission, Sorkin cited dozens of letters from Madoff victims urging Chin to make sure Madoff never gets out of prison.
“The significant anger and resentment evidence in the victims’ words is no doubt justified in light of the circumstances of this case,” Sorkin said. “Thankfully, none of the fury expressed in the victim statements has been as shocking as the death threats and anti-Semitic e-mails that have been directed toward Madoff and his counsel.”
Madoff was arrested in December after he confessed to his sons that the private investment side of his business was a fraud. Authorities say Madoff promised investors their accounts were worth as much as $65 billion. In reality, only several hundred million dollars remained.
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First Published: Tue, Jun 23 2009. 08 20 PM IST