Bernard Madoff, the mastermind of biggest financial fraud in US, was sentenced to 150 years in prison on Monday.
New York Judge Denny Chin said the 71-year-old Madoff's $65 billion financial fraud that affected hundreds of investors around the world was unprecedented in this century.
His victims, nine of whom testified in the New York court ahead of the sentencing, called him a ‘beast’ and ‘monster’ and demanded the maximum punishment. His attorneys had asked for 12 years because of his age. Madoff in his own declaration said he would live in pain for his crime, which cost more than 1000 investors their life savings.
Madoff told the court that he had left an inheritance of shame for his family and he would live with that for the rest of his life. He even turned to the victims present in the court and apologised for his actions.
The sentencing, while providing some conclusion for victims, will still leave many fighting to recover some of their lost money. That recovery came one step closer on Friday when the New York court ruled that Madoff's wife Ruth must renounce the bulk of the family's estate. The family will have to surrender numerous villas, yachts, and cars worth $80 million, Judge Denny Chin ruled. She can keep about $2.5 million.
Madoff ran a ‘Ponzi’ scheme for years, faking earnings by continuously drawing in new investors. The system collapsed late last year when investors began to withdraw funds because of the financial crisis. Madoff was first arrested in December and pleaded guilty to the crime in March.