Wed, Jul 01, 2009 - Page 1 News List

Madoff apologizes, sentenced to 150 years in prison

‘LEGACY OF SHAME'The former NASDAQ chairman said he couldn’t offer any excuse for the lies he told, while his wife, Ruth, broke her silence on the scandal

AP AND AFP , NEW YORK

Wall Street swindler Bernard Madoff was sentenced on Monday to 150 years in jail for masterminding an “evil” multibillion-dollar investment scam that cheated thousands of people around the world.

“It is the judgment of this court that Bernard Madoff should be sentenced to 150 years in jail,” Judge Denny Chin said as he handed down the maximum term possible on 11 charges of fraud, theft and perjury.

He described Madoff’s crimes as “extraordinarily evil” and said it was “not merely a bloodless crime that takes place on paper but one that takes a staggering human toll.”

The tough sentence came even after Madoff, the former chairman of NASDAQ, made a courtroom apology to his victims.

“I am sorry,” he told them simply. “I don’t ask for forgiveness.”

“I leave a legacy of shame to my family. I am responsible for a great deal of suffering and pain. I live in a tormented state,” said the disgraced 71-year-old financier who now faces spending the rest of his life in prison.

“I cannot offer an excuse for my behavior,” he added. “How do you excuse deceiving investors ... and 200 employees? How do you excuse lying to my sons and two brothers? How do you excuse lying to a wife who stood by you for 50 years and still stands by me? There is no excuse for that.”

Some of Madoff’s victims vented their fury as they addressed the court.

Madoff’s wife, Ruth, finally broke her silence on Monday and lashed out at her husband, saying: “All those touched by this fraud feel betrayed; disbelieving the nightmare they woke to.

“The man who committed this horrible fraud is not the man whom I have known all these years,” she said in a statement.

Federal authorities are also probing 10 of Madoff’s associates.

Sources wouldn’t detail potential charges or say whether the 10 would include Madoff’s family or former employees. So far, only Madoff and an accountant accused of failing to make basic auditing checks have been charged in the scheme.

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