NEW YORK >> Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff got no compassion today from a Manhattan federal judge who denied his bid for early release because he is dying.
“When I sentenced Mr. Madoff in 2009, it was fully my intent that he live out the rest of his life in prison. His lawyers asked then for a sentence of 12 to 15 to 20 years, specifically with the hope that Mr. Madoff would live to see ‘the light of day,’” Judge Denny Chin wrote.
“I was not persuaded; I did not believe that Mr. Madoff was deserving of that hope. Nothing has happened in the 11 years since to change my thinking. While Mr. Madoff’s present medical situation is most unfortunate, compassionate release is not warranted.”
The tough line against Madoff comes as other white-collar criminals have been granted early release or home confinement because of the risk they might contract coronavirus in prison. President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his onetime lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen were allowed to complete their respective sentences for bank fraud and violating campaign finance law at home.
Madoff’s longshot plea for mercy was revealed in February. The fraudster, who is being held at a prison in Butner, N.C., wrote that he had a terminal case of kidney disease and less than 18 months to live. The 82-year-old asked the judge to allow him to spend his final days at a friend’s home.
“I’m terminally ill,” Madoff told The Washington Post. “There’s no cure for my type of disease. So, you know, I’ve served. I’ve served 11 years already, and, quite frankly, I’ve suffered through it.”
Chin sentenced Madoff to 150 years for the unprecedented $65 billion scam that bilked thousands of investors, destroyed lives and emptied retirement funds. After Madoff’s request became public 520 victims wrote to the court. The overwhelming majority — some 96% — opposed the request, the judge wrote.
“Many people are still suffering from Mr. Madoff’s actions. I also believe that Mr. Madoff was never truly remorseful, and that he was only sorry that his life as he knew it was collapsing around him. Even at the end, he was trying to send more millions of his ill-gotten gains to family members, friends and certain employees,” Chin wrote.