Madoff Pleads Guilty, Could Get 150 Years

Well, it’s official. Bernie Madoff has plead guilty to 11 counts of fraud, money laundering, perjury and theft. The maximum amount of prison time for these crimes is 150 years.

Madoff, who is 70, appeared in United States District Court in Manhattan, was sworn in and answered questions about the 20 year long, $65 billion ponzi scheme.

The New York Times says that Madoff had this to say to the judge when asked how he sustained such a mammoth deception for so long:

“I believed it would end shortly and I would be able to extricate myself and my clients from the scheme.”


Madoff’s immediate fate will be decided Thursday when the judge rules on whether he will remain free on bail or be jailed while he awaits sentencing.

Pleading Guilty to All Charges, Madoff Awaits Ruling on Bail [NYT]
(Michael Appleton for The New York Times)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Wormfather is Wormfather says:

    Completly off topic but not as bad a FIRST comment.

    Is anyone else having problems replying to other comments? Like you click reply and it sends you to the top of the page with no way to reply?

    Also, the judge needs to be carful here, if he know’s where the money is, put him away for life and the victims will never see it. Maybe they shoudl have Jack Bauer find out for them.

  2. lodleader says:

    burn, nuff said

  3. thebluepill says:

    What a moron.. If i pulled off a swindle like that, I would have cashed out and bought an island somewhere that i couldnt be extradited..

  4. Trencher93 says:

    70 yrs of age, and a 150 year sentence?

    • Cocoa Vanilla says:

      @Trencher93: What’s unusual about that? You don’t get sentenced based on your age, you get sentenced based on the crime you did.

      • adamczar says:

        @Cocoa Vanilla: Right, who’s to say Bernie might live to 200 years old? Unlikely, sure, but certainly possible, so they sentence him on the crime, not his age.

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      @Trencher93: Yup. Living like a king for decades with biollions of dollars floating around you and then “retiring” to a minimum security Club-Fed for the final few years of his life.

      Worse things happen to 18-year-olds that get cell phone picture messages of nude 17-year-olds and people pulled over with a bong in the backseat.

    • Eliamias says:

      @Trencher93: The cynic in me says that his doctors told him he has something fatal which is why he decided to give up now (though market conditions may well be the only thing that forced his hand here). I’ll be surprised if he’s still here in five.

  5. penarestel says:

    So he scams people out of billions of dollars and he’s going to jail on my dime?

    Anyone else see that as just wrong?

    • Tightlines says:

      @penarestel: Um, what would you suggest? A public hanging?

      • m4ximusprim3 says:

        @Tightlines:I’ll start with that, and then proceed to tarring and feathering the corpse.

        • dresden says:

          @m4ximusprim3: No one’s really burnt at the stake anymore. Perhaps after the tarring and feathering…

          • mac-phisto says:

            @dresden: i was kind of disappointed that he pleaded. if he refused, we could break out my favorite form of punishment – crushing.

            read the story of giles cory (salem witch trials – the only american ever punished by crushing), who’s final words were reportedly, “more weight”.

      • penarestel says:

        @Tightlines: All that money he scammed ought to be somewhere. I’m sure that if it was all paid back you’d still find some extra that could be used to pay for his burden.

        Short of that I’m all go for the public hanging. Preferably one where his neck isn’t broken, he just suffocates from the strangulation.

  6. savdavid says:

    I imagine lots of money is hidden away for his family and grandkids.

  7. winshape says:

    Good. He’s a crook who stole from other people.

    However, some responsibility lies with the people who gave him money. I mean, c’mon, you were earning anywhere between 10 and 20% while the rest of the market worldwide was tanking? And you didn’t ask ANY questions? You wrote your checks directly to the person instead of the company? Accept your losses as payment for your unfettered greed.

    • johnva says:

      @winshape: I don’t think that the victims are “responsible” for his crimes, but I agree that they shouldn’t get as much sympathy as some are saying. It seems that the indications were quite clear that Madoff was running a scam, so yeah, greed was the real reason most invested with him. I think most of them probably figured he was doing *something* illegal, and didn’t care as long as he was able to get away with it and continue making them those high returns.

      What DOES piss me off quite a bit more is that Madoff indirectly cost the government billions and billions in tax revenue. Now all those people will be able to write off their losses, which will mean that the government will lose expected tax revenue.

      • Tightlines says:

        @johnva: Yes, but didn’t the government collect taxes on money that never existed while the scam was running?

        • winshape says:

          @Tightlines: Only if it was reported. If this was set up as a Roth IRA, or something similar, then you would only be taxed when you pulled out the money. If you end up with zero, then no taxes.

          You could argue that the money was taxed. Madoff paid all sorts of taxes on his multi-million dollar apartment and furnishings. Companies paid taxes on both the raw materials and the labor to make those products as well as their own corporate taxes. And so on.

      • winshape says:

        @NigerianScammer: Says the person named “NigerianScammer”.

  8. The Porkchop Express says:

    @Wormfather is Wormfather : The money is under a volcanic rock in a stone wall around a farm. or under a church pew with information on the kennedy assassination.

  9. Bladefist says:

    I don’t predict he will get a full life sentence. So far the judge has let him live a lavish lifestyle while they made their case. I’m sure he has bought the right people.

  10. Monica Teasdale says:

    I like that touch of victimhood. “I believed it would end shortly and I would be able to extricate myself and my clients from the scheme.” And then, you know, things just got out of hand and he was trapped!

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @Monica Teasdale: I’m told that’s the psychology of a lot of Ponzi-scheme runners … they think they can fix it and get out, and then feel more and more panicked and trapped.

      Also, my husband says there’s nothing more painful than watching a white-collar criminal attempt to plead guilty. They always believe they had some justification for what they did, they’re basically a good person, and they’re REALLY DETERMINED that the court understand the REASON they did it. Some of them literally can’t bring themselves to say “guilty” at the plea because they just. keep. self-justifying.

  11. Mobius says:

    I hope he dies in prison.

  12. tc4b says:

    @ penarestel (reply not working)

    I understand that’s frustrating, but I prefer paying for his prison time to letting him free to do it again. I could go with exile, does the US do that?

  13. BeerManMike says:

    F-me in the butt jail or filet minon for dinner jail?

  14. N.RobertMoses says:

    The hanging trees in Union Square are still there, although hanging wouldn’t be good enough for him.

  15. dragonfire81 says:

    He will most likely get some ridiculous, slap on the wrist sentence.

  16. Corporate_guy says:

    I wonder if they are making a back room deal that lets his wife keep millions in stolen money in exchange for a guilty plea that protects involved third parties such as the SEC from being implicated by the evidence generate from a trial.

  17. Elijah Perez says:

    Put him in stocks!

    Old punishments were so effective… *wistful sigh*

  18. NigerianScammer says:

    Okay, now that Madoff is going to jail, can we focus on some real criminals please? I think there’s a few execs who could use a trip to the pen.

  19. RedSonSuperDave says:

    Rather than getting 150 years in jail, I’d like to see each of his victims get ten minutes alone with him.

  20. Canadian Impostor says:

    Since this is over $50M Madoff would have to serve time in federal custody, aka “federal pound me in the ass prison”. Most likely he’ll be in solitary because he literally wouldn’t last a day there.

    Sucks, I guess.

  21. Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

    It’s really, really bad when your PLEA BARGAIN involves 150 years in prison.

  22. ironchef says:

    The trick is to sentence him to the full 150 years. Then he can buy down the number of years by liquidating his hidden assets.

    I’m predicting if he makes full restitution…he’ll get 15 years.

  23. failurate says:

    So we will never ever know who the guilty third parties (in the Government) are? I’ll be shocked they don’t just Lee Harvey Oswald/Jack Ruby him so they can stick with their lone gunman theory.

  24. Rachacha says:

    The next question will be what becomes of the assets which for the past several months (after the scheme collapsed) he had allegedly been giving to his wife and other family members so that when HIS assets were seized he could honestly say he had nothing and his family would be able to live off of the funds that were earned from the scheme. While the Bernie issue may be completed, I think that it will take years for the scheme to be completely unraveled.

  25. Tightlines says:

    This may sound macabre…but I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that Bernie Madoff is dead within the month. A Ken Lay death, if you will.

  26. Doug81 says:

    This brings to mind a quote from Office Space:

    “This isn’t Riyadh. You know they’re not gonna saw your hands off here, alright? The worst they would ever do is they would put you for a couple of months into a white-collar, minimum-security resort! Shit, we should be so lucky! Do you know, they have conjugal visits there?”

  27. T Axel Jones says:

    I’m not sure he should not be allowed to plea to a lesser offense. He should have been brought up on trial and a full investigation into how he got away with this and who he was paying off needs to be revealed.

  28. failurate says:

    You mean where he and his co-conspirators fake his death, have his body “cremated and buried in a secret location” and his conviction abated so that his family and friends (and his still live self) can enjoy the spoils of his crimes, Ken Lay death?

  29. Aaron Tyson says:

    Wow 150yrs for Madoff.. Seems like a moot point for him to get this sentence. I mean lets face it he is 70yrs old, he has had a full life, he has achieved most if not all of his goals in life. Going to prison now is only symbolic and only for his protection from not getting killed. Him going to prison would be like going to a retirement home for him. He will feel no pain or remorse for what he has done. He has a free ride until his death weather it be in prison or not.

  30. edosan says:

    From the article:

    “A court-appointed trustee liquidating Mr. Madoff’s business has so far only been able to identify about $1 billion in assets to satisfy claims…”


  31. Anonymous says:

    $50,000,000,000 / (150 years in hours)


  32. HiPwr says:

    He should have pulled a Marc Rich. Flee the country and start giving money to the Democrats until one gives him a pardon.

  33. Jevia says:

    But what kind of “prison” will he go to? The country-club for white collar criminals? Sure its not the French Riviera, but I bet its still a pretty decent retirement home for him, and now he’ll get his meals and healthcare all on the government’s (and our) dime.

    Seriously, there needs to be some way that the government will also seize any and all assets that he (or his wife and family) have that came from this scheme to cover his expenses and pay back the people he scammed.

  34. vladthepaler says:

    It’s not so much about how much time as where he’s sent. i vote for a real-life Oz.

  35. djdonovan says:

    I’d be curious what kind of life insurance policy he has and what the payout is.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Old joke from England.
    An accountant’s been convicted of embezzling millions of pounds of client funds. Judge rants and raves for a good while about betrayal of public trust, effect on client’s lives, need for setting an example, etc, etc, before pronouncing the sentence:
    “Fifty years hard labour!”
    The defendant turns pale. “Your worship, I’m seventy years old – I’ll never do fifty years…”
    Judge peers over the bench, looks him up and done. “Ah, yes…. well, do the best you can, then.”

  37. mbnovik says:

    Thief should sit in jail not in a comfortable 10 million townhouse…

  38. albear says:

    This guy should spent the rest of his natural life in jail. I feel bad for the 90 year old who lost his life savings and has to go to work again. (I saw a story like that on the news)

    He ruined many people. But, we know he’ll be paroled in 3 years for good behavior. I would love it if when criminals get sent to jail for life, it really IS for life!

  39. Anonymous says:

    Bernie Madoff’s crimes are stunning justification for the
    death penalty and I for one, would say YES! The method?
    Set the little cockroach on fire!
    Either that or ask a vengeful God what the proper punishment
    might be. I’d even go so far as to say that Jesus might have
    a hard time turning the other cheek with Bernie. Can anyone
    say “Valet to the anti-Christ?”

  40. howtragic says:

    A really sad tale about greed. This guy could have made a ton of money without doing anything illegal. He could have spent the winter of his life in luxury. So this guy started all this when he was in his early 50’s, right? I mean he was already super rich back then and could have just retired and enjoyed the rest of his life. I don’t get why he took the risk. He didn’t need anymore money. He is just a shallow, greedy piece of shit who got off on stealing people’s money. Now, he’s off to prison. So totally pointless.

    PS – I don’t think that this guy feels one ounce of remorse. Sure, he regrets he got caught, but come on! This guy had nearly 20 years to feel remorse and change his ways. Instead, he actually increased the amount of people he was stealing from.

  41. TheSpatulaOfLove says:

    I have a better idea! Chop off his thumbs and have him work in soup kitchens for the rest of his life. Those large pots are mighty heavy, and he’ll have the pleasure of looking into the very eyes of those who’s programs were funded by the philanthropists he robbed.

  42. AgentTuttle says:

    Here’s an idea, give him one year in prison,… but anyone who wants to can line up to punch him in the face.

  43. MisterE says:

    He won’t be placed in with the rest of the general population. Instead, he’ll go to camp fed, play golf, and watch movies and cable. He’ll get free health care too and enjoy the company of other high profile prisoners. He’ll die in peace and comfort.

  44. tworld says:

    FINALLY, that piece of s%#* Madoff is in jail. Now, they must go after his wife and liquidate EVERYTHING she owns. After Mrs. Madoff, the sons, after that the niece married to the former S.E.C. attorney. All proceeds to go to the people who lost their life savings. I can’t wait for pampered, disgusting, pig Bernie to become somebodies b%#*& in jail.