Bernard Madoff Gets 150 Year Sentence

Judge gives maximum sentence possible to “teach a lesson.”

Last Updated: June 30, 2009 @ 11:11 AM

Bernard Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison on Monday for running one of Wall St.’s biggest and most covert scams ever.

Madoff, 71, showed no reaction when he heard the sentence, although he had addressed several of his victims who were present — some of whom spoke during the hearing —  earlier in the morning.

 

Upon hearing the sentence, the courtroom erupted into cheers. Madoff was escorted out of the courtroom by federal marshals immediately after the hearing.

 

It is not yet known where Madoff will serve his sentence; he has been in a Manhattan holding jail for the past three months. The federal prisons bureau will eventually determine the location in which Madoff will live out his sentence.

 

U.S. District Judge Denny Chin in Manhattan said he was giving Madoff the harshest penalty possible in order to teach a lesson. The 150-year prison sentence, he said, was important, given the magnitude of the crime.

 

Chin pronounced the punishment after hearing statements from nine of Madoff’s victims, some of whom said they had lost their life savings.

 

"The fraud here was staggering," Chin said.

 

Madoff plead guilty to 11 crimes in March. The sentence on Monday was the equivalent to the maximum term for each one.

 

Madoff, who sat passively throughout the hour-and-a-half hearing, apologized to his victims, at one point briefly turning in their direction while he spoke.

 

"I will live with this pain, with this torment, for the rest of my life," he said. "I live in a tormented state knowing the pain and suffering I have created."

 

Madoff confessed to running a multibillion-dollar "Ponzi scheme" in which investors were paid returns from money paid by later investors.