- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 24, 2009

NEW YORK | Bernard Madoff’s lawyer has told a judge scheduled to sentence the disgraced financier next week that 12 years in prison will be sufficient punishment for the man who swindled tens of billions of investors’ dollars in one of history’s biggest frauds.

But a Colorado woman who says her family was ruined financially by Madoff’s thievery said a sentence that short might only work “if he was hung by his toes” the whole time.

The 71-year-old Madoff faces up to 150 years in prison after pleading guilty on March 12 to 11 felony counts including securities fraud and perjury. He admitted operating a massive Ponzi scheme for decades. Federal sentencing guidelines call for Madoff to receive a life sentence.

Madoff attorney Ira Sorkin said in court papers made public Tuesday that his client “will speak to the shame he has felt and to the pain he has caused” when U.S. District Judge Denny Chin sentences him on Monday.

“We seek neither mercy nor sympathy,” Mr. Sorkin wrote. But he urged Judge Chin to “set aside the emotion and hysteria attendant to this case” as he determines the sentence.

Mr. Sorkin said a sentence of a dozen years in prison would acknowledge Madoff’s voluntary surrender, full acceptance of responsibility, meaningful cooperation efforts and the nonviolent nature of his crime.

He added that a prison term of 15 to 20 years would not disproportionately punish Madoff compared with sentences given other white-collar criminals.

“If he was hung by his toes for 12 years then maybe that sentence would be acceptable,” said Candace Newlove, of Nederland, Colo. She said her family was financially ruined by Madoff.

Richard Roth, of Jupiter, Fla., who lost several million dollars with Madoff and has had to put his house up for sale, said he had faith in the court system. “The lawyer can ask for anything he wants. That doesn’t mean anything. I’m sure he’s going to spend the rest of his life in jail,” he said.

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