Judge Won't Release Madoff

Ponzi scheme victims are still suffering, ruling says
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 4, 2020 6:20 PM CDT
Judge Rejects Freeing Madoff
Bernard Madoff, center, leaves federal court in New York in 2009.   (AP Photo/ Louis Lanzano, File)

Saying "many people are still suffering from" the crimes committed by Bernie Madoff, a federal judge refused Thursday to set the convict free. Madoff, 82, is serving a 150-year sentence, but his lawyers said he's dying of kidney disease and asked that he be released now, CNBC reports. Illness doesn't change anything for US District Judge Denny Chin. "When I sentenced Mr. Madoff in 2009, it was fully my intent that he live out the rest of his life in prison," Chin wrote in his ruling, adding that he doesn't believe Madoff has ever shown true remorse. "Nothing has happened in the 11 years since to change my thinking." Madoff, who pleaded guilty in 2009 to cheating thousands of investors out of billions of dollars, committed "one of the most egregious financial crimes of all time," the judge said, adding that it took a "staggering human toll."

Madoff’s lawyer issued a statement expressing disappoinment with Chin's "refusal to grant Madoff any compassion," though the judge did say Madoff's health problems were "most unfortunate." Brandon Sample said Chin "essentially found that because of the nature of Madoff’s crimes — Madoff is beyond redemption." The only way Madoff, who hopes to be allowed to live with a friend, can be freed now is if President Trump commutes his sentence, Sample said, per the New York Post. "We implore the president to personally consider Madoff’s rapidly declining health," the lawyer said. So far, more than 16,000 of Madoff's Ponzi scheme victims have filed claims to be reimbursed for a total of more than $19 billion. About $13 billion of that has been paid out. (A professor had argued for releasing Madoff.)

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