Madoff Judge Says 'Evil' Crimes Justify Extraordinary Sentence

Jun 28 2011 | 4:50pm ET

Two years after his sentencing for the largest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history, Bernard Madoff and U.S. District Judge Denny Chin traded shots in the pages of The New York Times.

As part of a series of interviews with the Gray Lady, Chin called the arch-fraudster "extraordinarily evil." Unsurprisingly, Madoff, speaking to the newspaper over the phone from the North Carolina prison where his is serving his 150-year sentence, wasn't thrilled with that description.

"I just think that was totally unrealistic and unfair," Madoff said, adding that Chin made him "the human piñata of Wall Street."

"In my mind, Chin was anything but fair," Madoff said, adding the parting shot, "with zero understanding of the industry."

Chin said he imposed the maximum sentence on Madoff to send the "strongest possible message." The scammer's "conduct was so egregious" that Chin decided to "do everything I possibly could to punish him."

"A defendant should get his just deserts."

Chin acknowledged that imposing an effective life sentence—and thensome—on a 71-year-old man was difficult, and that he considered a sentence as low as the 20 years recommended by Madoff's lawyer.

But, "In the end, I just thought he didn't deserve it," the judge explained. "The benefits of giving him hope were far outweighed by all of the other considerations."

"Maybe the judge felt, 'Well, he's 70 years old, so even if I give him 20 years, he's going to be 90 years old," Madoff said. "But, quite frankly, there's a big difference with dying in prison, you know, and dying outside with your family."

Madoff accused Chin of falling prey to "the mob psychology of the time," joking that he was "surprised Chin didn't suggest stoning in the public square."

"Explain to me who else has received a sentence like that," Madoff said. "I mean, serial killers get a death sentence, but that's virtually what he gave me."


In Depth

Will Liquid Alts’ Performance Sustain Future Asset Flows?

Aug 25 2014 | 10:34am ET

Liquid alternative investment funds saw the highest percentage of capital inflows...

Lifestyle

Hedgies, Economists and Musicians Mingle At Milkin Mixers In Hamptons

Aug 25 2014 | 6:00am ET

Leave it to Michael Milken to bring some gravitas and sweat to the Hamptons -- along...

Guest Contributor

Looking Ahead: What’s In Store For Managed Futures?

Aug 22 2014 | 12:52pm ET

The last five years were phenomenal for investors in equity indices. Will the next...

 

Editor's Note

    Get A Sneak Peak Of The Alpha Pages

    Aug 25 2014 | 11:21am ET

    As many of you know, FINalternatives was recently acquired by the owners of Futures magazine, a firm called The Alpha Pages LLC. Today marks the soft-launch of a new sister site for both publications. As its name suggests, The Alpha Pages will cover all types of alternative investments, going far beyond the more well-known ones such as hedge funds and private equity. Read more…

 

Futures Magazine

July/August 2014 Cover

The time was right

Commodities/Futures magazine launched at the precipice of a revolution in the futures industry—really a revolution in the idea of risk management—that would move it from a small niche industry to ...

The Alpha Pages

TAP July/August 2014 Cover

The Alpha Pages Interview: Senator Rand Paul

Senator Paul sat down in the debut series of the Alpha Pages Interview to discuss the broken tax code, regulation surrounding Bitcoin, and his plans for the 2016 Presidential election.