Saturday, May 23, 2015

Bernie Madoff's long goodbye

A federal judge sentenced Bernie Madoff to 150 years in prison for his ponzi scheme. Is the sentence fair?

Bernie Madoff's long goodbye

Bernard Madoff
Bernard Madoff

Bernard Madoff's 150-year prison sentence has sparked some debate as to whether the sentence is fair. Many of Madoff's victims cheered the federal judge's sentence for orchestrating what Madoff said a $50 billion Ponzi scheme that hurt scores of investors. Madoff's attorney Ira Sorkin called the sentence "absurd." Sorkin said: "My reaction is the justice system is not based on vengeance and it's not built on symbolism...150 years is absurd under the guidelines under the sentencing statutes."

The Inquirer editorial today said the sentence fit the crime, which was massive and went on for years.

Daily News columnist Elmer Smith says Madoff got off easy. He said prosecutors should have pressed him to cooperate and give up others who may have played a role in the scheme. Indeed, prosecutors will often work out plea deals with low-level conspirators in order to get to the big fish, but in this case Madoff was the top man. Smith raises an interesting point that perhaps the feds don't want Madoff's help in determining why the SEC failed to investigate allegations of the Ponzi scheme that date back years.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press is reporting that prosecutors may charge 10 others linked to the scheme.

What do you think? Was Madoff's sentence fair or too harsh? 

About this blog

The Inquirer Editorial Board's Say What? opinion blog showcases the work of the editors and writers who produce the newspaper's daily and Sunday opinion pages.

Find out more about The Inquirer's Editorial Board here.

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