Madoff Sentenced to 150 Years

June 29th, 2009

According to a New York Times report, Bernie Madoff has just been sentenced to 150 years in prison.  The judge who sentenced him called his crimes “extraordinarily evil.”

I guess we can all rest better tonight.  Madoff’s victims won’t receive much compensation for their losses; however, we can take heart from the fact that we’ll pay his room, board, and other expenses for the rest of his short life.  At least he won’t be out on the streets, mugging us, shooting us, or taking our money in fraudulent investment schemes.  But wait — that wouldn’t have happened anyway.

I suspect the sentence means very little to Madoff.  He’s a ruined, broken old man who is reviled around the world.  What more could have been done to him that would have made any difference, for him or for us?

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One Response to “Madoff Sentenced to 150 Years”

  1. Pedro Kolari |

    There is one aspect – specifically where the money went – that gets little attention. To me this is fascinating in itself as is the very fact of the lack of attention.

    We have all heard about the limited amounts that were recovered liquidating and auctioning off assets of the Madoff family. But where did the bulk of the money go? The answer is simple. Another portion was just consumed or wasted on lavish lifestyles, etc. but most of the total “loss” was left in the hands of fortunate investors who withdrew in a timely manner.

    We hear only a long number of detailed descriptions of losses by victims. Theoretically, an extensive investigation could identify a similar list of winners. Most of them are innocent and probably immune from any claims even if their gains were the product of a crime being perpetrated.

    One is tempted to wonder what it would be like to publish a long list of victims and winners. The next step would be to invite winners, in the name of fairness, solidarity, whatever, to at least partially compensate victims.

    In the end Bernie Madoff kept “only a few billion” out of the total amount of over 60 billion cited. This is not an attempt to diminish his guilt nor give support to his partial moral “alibi” based on the investors’ greed. I believe this angle puts the whole affair in better perspective, as regards the roles played in the whole affair by negligence, greed and plain lack of common sense in the society at large.

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