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Madoff gets 150 years for epic fraud

 A victim of Bernard's Madoff's ponzi scheme, Carol Baer, wipes her face while holding a sign during a gathering of victims and their supporters after...
 FILE - In this March 12, 2009 file photo, Bernard Madoff arrives at Manhattan federal court in New York. Some victims were expected to call for harsh...

Madoff Scandal

A victim of Bernard's Madoff's ponzi scheme, Carol Baer, wipes her face while holding a sign during a gathering of victims and their supporters after...

Madoff Scandal

FILE - In this March 12, 2009 file photo, Bernard Madoff arrives at Manhattan federal court in New York. Some victims were expected to call for harsh...

Inside a packed Manhattan courtroom, Miriam Siegman and eight other victims of Bernard Madoff directed their anger at the 71-year-old disgraced financier.

Madoff "discarded me like road kill," Siegman said.

Even before the one-time financier was sentenced to 150 years in prison, Siegman, 65, hobbled out of the federal courthouse and into the media scrum that has followed the secretive money manager from his Upper East Side apartment seven months ago to this sentencing Monday.

There, anger toward Madoff appeared to have shifted more to the regulators that many believe failed to stop the massive fraud. Victims and nearby protesters took the government to task for not preventing Madoff's Ponzi scheme. U.S. District Judge Denny Chin said estimated losses for investors were more than $13 billion, but he said that was conservative.

The crush of TV cameras and reporters spilled out into the street in front of oncoming traffic as New York City police tried to hem in the crowd.

Siegman, surrounded by cameras, said she lost 40 years of savings and now scavenges for food. Appearing frail and supporting herself on a walker, she began to feel unwell while speaking with reporters. The questions kept coming even as she ate a cookie to raise her blood sugar.

She said the investigation cannot end with Madoff.

"The sentence itself is not the issue," Siegman said. "The issue for me is that this never, ever happens again."

Stories like that of Siegman were at the root of protests in a nearby park where people addressed a crowd from a podium.

There were many homemade signs, one reading "Madoff stole it. SEC ignored it. IRS kept it."

Siegman called for a reform at the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Securities Investor Protection Corp., which is in charge of distributing any recovered money.

Madoff was sentenced to a prison term six times longer than that meted out to the chief executives of WorldCom Inc. and Enron Corp. He’s likely to serve his time in a decidedly harsher prison as well.

Sentenced to 150 years, Madoff will probably be sent to a medium- or high-security prison, probably in the northeastern U.S, according to lawyers and prison consultants. Even worse for Madoff, fellow inmates serving life sentences may want “to make a name for themselves” by harming the ex-money manager, a former inmate said. The Federal Bureau of Prisons, which will decide where he’s jailed, may isolate Madoff to protect him from other prisoners.

“If they see an opportunity to take that man out and be in the paper and make a name for themselves, what do they have to lose,” Steve Vincent, a former police officer jailed for theft who now runs Federal Prison Consultant Services in Louisville, Kentucky, said in an interview. “Wherever he goes, they’re going to put him in solitary.”

The Bureau of Prisons hasn’t decided where Madoff will be jailed, said spokeswoman Felicia Ponce. Madoff’s 150-year term, the seriousness of his crimes and the judge’s recommendation that he be jailed in the northeast will be factors in the decision. Madoff asked to do his time in Otisville, New York, a medium-security lockup 70 miles northwest of Manhattan.


Updated : 2020-12-04 19:45 GMT+08:00