Bernie Madoff should be left to die behind bars for his “extraordinarily evil” crimes — even if he has only months left to live with kidney disease, US prosecutors insisted in a court filing.
The 81-year-old fraudster — whose $65 billion Ponzi scheme was the biggest in history — is seeking “compassionate release” from his 150-year prison sentence, saying he has at most 18 months to live due to “end-stage” kidney disease and other “chronic, serious medical conditions.”
But government prosecutors on Wednesday noted around 500 victims wrote powerful letters objecting to his release — with less than two dozen showing any support for him being allowed home early.
“Madoff’s crimes were ‘extraordinarily evil.’ His sentence was appropriately long. It should not be reduced,” prosecutors wrote in the 34-page filing.
Madoff has shown no remorse for his crimes, the prosecutors argued, noting that they caused at least two ripped-off investors to kill themselves and even his own son, Mark Madoff, hanged himself on the second anniversary of his dad’s arrest.
Of around 520 victims who wrote letters, only 20 — just 4% — supported him getting a compassionate release, the filing noted.
One 84-year-old victim wrote saying they had “no sympathy for this depraved individual,” asking, “Why should he be shown any compassion, when he had none for his many victims?”
The wife of an investor who killed himself noted how she “lost all my money and my husband of 40 years” because of Madoff’s “horrific crimes.”
“As far as I am concerned, he should spend the rest of his life in jail,” she wrote.
Prosecutors said it was “remarkable that so many victims took the time to write to the Court over 10 years after Madoff’s original sentencing.”
“Their letters show how deeply Madoff’s crimes continue to affect his victims, many of whom, as one put it in a letter to the Court, are “serv[ing] a kind of life sentence of [their] own.”
The filing also noted that he was initially sentenced to 150-years on the clear understanding that it meant him dying behind bars.
They argued that the prison time — along with a fine of more than $170 billion — was to “send a message that Madoff had been punished to the fullest extent of the law.”
“Even though time has passed and Madoff may now be near the end of his life, that message is equally important. He should not be released,” the prosecutors argued.
“The nature of Madoff’s crime — unprecedented in scope and magnitude— wholly justified the 150-year sentence this Court imposed and is by itself a sufficient reason to deny Madoff’s motion.”
Madoff is confined to a wheelchair while he battles terminal kidney disease and other ailments, his attorney, Brandon Sample, said in an early February court filing.
“Madoff, despite what the government might claim, is remorseful for his conduct,” Sample said Wednesday. “A reply addressing the government’s other contentions will be filed.”
With Post wires
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