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Madoff Sentenced To 150 Years In Prison

TOM HAYS and LARRY NEUMEISTER | June 29, 2009 01:46 PM EST | AP

Via HuffPo

NEW YORK — Convicted Wall Street swindler Bernard Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison Monday for a fraud so extensive that the judge said he needed to send a message to potential imitators and to victims who demanded harsh punishment.

Scattered applause and whoops broke out in the crowded Manhattan courtroom after U.S. District Judge Denny Chin issued the maximum sentence to the 71-year-old defendant, who said he lives “in a tormented state now, knowing all the pain and suffering I’ve created.”

Chin rejected a request by Madoff’s lawyer for leniency and said he disagreed that victims of the Ponzi scheme were seeking mob vengeance.

“Here the message must be sent that Mr. Madoff’s crimes were extraordinarily evil and that this kind of manipulation of the system is not just a bloodless crime that takes place on paper, but one instead that takes a staggering toll,” Chin said.

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A ‘sorry and ashamed’ Bernard Madoff pleads guilty

AP/Yahoo

By LARRY NEUMEISTER and TOM HAYS, Associated Press Writers

1 min ago

NEW YORK – Bernard Madoff pleaded guilty Thursday to charges that he carried out an epic fraud that robbed investors around the world of billions of dollars, admitting he began operating a giant Ponzi scheme in the early 1990s in response to a recession.

“I am actually grateful for this opportunity to publicly comment about my crimes, for which I am deeply sorry and ashamed,” he told U.S. District Judge Denny Chin.

He said that he started the fraud but that he believed it would be short and he could extricate himself.

“As the years went by, I realized my risk, and this day would inevitably come,” he said in a steady voice. “I cannot adequately express how sorry I am for my crimes.”

The fraud turned a revered money man into an overnight global disgrace whose name became synonymous with the current economic meltdown.

Madoff described his crimes after he entered a guilty plea to all 11 counts he was charged with, including fraud, perjury, theft from an employee benefit plan, and two counts of international money laundering.

Prosecutors say the disgraced financier, who has spent three months under house arrest in his $7 million in Manhattan penthouse, could face a maximum sentence of 150 years in prison at sentencing.

The plea came three months after the FBI claimed Madoff admitted to his sons that his once-revered investment fund was all a big lie — a Ponzi scheme that was in the billions of dollars. Since his arrest in December, the scandal has turned the 70-year-old former Nasdaq chairman into a pariah who has worn a bulletproof vest to court.

The scheme evaporated life fortunes, wiped out charities and apparently pushed at least two investors to commit suicide. Victims big and small were swindled by Madoff, from elderly Florida retirees to actors Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel.

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The 10 Greediest People of 2008

By Sam Pizzigati, Too Much: A Commentary on Excess and Inequality. Posted December 23, 2008.

For obvious reasons, we probably couldn’t have picked a better year than 2008 to “honor” our most avaricious.

This time of year always seems to bring a never-ending barrage of “top ten” lists. The year’s top ten movies, the top ten books, the top ten news stories, and on and on. Here at Too Much we’ve decided to join in on the action — with our very own list of America’s top ten greediest.

We probably couldn’t have picked a better year than 2008 to so “honor” our most avaricious. This year’s stunning economic meltdown has fixed the attention of our entire nation — and world — on the grasping antics of those who yearn for ever more than they could rationally ever need.

But this year also presents enormous challenges for anyone bold enough to rank the greedy. With so much greed out there, how could we possibly limit our list to a mere ten?

The latest greed explosion to hit the headlines — the $50 billion Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme — illustrates just how difficult a task ranking the greedy can be.

To whom in this scandal should we award the most greed points? Bernie Madoff himself, the 70-year-old who scammed his wealthy friends and charities to keep up his credentials as a Wall Street investing “genius” — and maintain a $6 million pad in Manhattan, a waterfront mansion in Palm Beach, and a weekend getaway on Long Island?

Or should those greed points go instead to the ever-so-sophisticated hedge fund “middlemen” like Walter Noel, who built a five-manse fortune by steering clients to Madoff and charging them tens of millions in “due diligence” fees for the steering.

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