Monday, April 19, 2021

Judge denies Ponzi scheme czar Bernie Madoff early prison release


Infamous fraudster Bernie Madoff, who perpetrated the largest Ponzi scheme in history, was denied early release from prison Thursday after requesting a compassionate end to his 150-year prison sentence due to terminal kidney failure.


  • Judge Denny Chin, who originally sentenced Madoff in 2009 and now sits on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, wrote in the decision to deny early release that, “It was fully my intent that he live out the rest of his life in prison.”
  • Madoff’s attorney Brandon Sample called the decision disappointing and said that he hopes President Trump will commute the sentence, according to the Associated Press.
  • Suffering from kidney disease, the 82-year-old Madoff in February sought compassionate release, reserved for prisoners who are expected to die in less than 18 months.
  • Federal prosecutors in March denied Madoff’s request for early release, with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York saying his crime was “unprecedented in scope and magnitude,” according to CNN.
  • In March 2009, Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 felony charges; 500 victims of Madoff wrote in opposition to his early release, with only 20 in support of commuting the sentence.
  • Chin further argued that Madoff “was never truly remorseful, and that he was only sorry that his life as he knew it was collapsing around him.”


Other high-profile white-collar criminals have recently been granted early release from prison due to the coronavirus pandemic. Michael Cohen, Trump‘s former attorney and fixer, was granted early release from federal prison in May and will serve the remainder of his sentence in home confinement. Another member of Trump’s inner circle, former campaign manager Paul Manafort, serving a seven-and-a-half year sentence was additionally released early.


38,000. That’s nearly how many people were victimized by Madoff and included in the Madoff Victim Fund, established by the Department of Justice. In April, the Justice Department announced $2.7 billion had been distributed to the victims, who were primarily indirect investors in Madoff’s fund. Another fund led by federally appointed trustee Irving H. Picard has received over 16,000 claims and has recovered around $14 billion of $17.5 billion lost to investors.

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