Madoff Attorney Asks for 12 Years

The attorney for fraudster Bernie Madoff has asked the judge for leniency in the case, and in a hand-delivered letter, asked for a 12-year sentence, the New York Times reports.

Madoff faces up to 150 years for his elaborate Ponzi scheme that robbed investors of billions of dollars.

Bernard Madoff, founder of the Wall Street firm Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, pleaded guilty on March 12, 2009, to 11 criminal counts related to his alleged masterminding and executing a Ponzi scheme that defrauded his clients out of billions of dollars.

Madoff Arrest Timeline

In December, 2008, 70-year-old Madoff reportedly confessed to his family that for more than 25 years he had been running what is now believed to be the biggest Ponzi scheme in Wall Street’s history. He confided in family members that the plan was beginning to crumble and he was down to between $200 and $300 million.

Following his reported confession, Madoff’s family members turned him in to authorities.

He was arrested on Dec. 11, and reportedly told authorities the scheme bilked his clients out of $50 billion. After his arrest, Madoff posted a $10 million bond and was put under house arrest.

Federal prosecutors allege Madoff operated the Ponzi scheme from at least the early 1980s up until his arrest. Authorities believe Madoff defrauded his clients by soliciting billions of dollars under false pretenses.

His charges included mail fraud, wire fraud, securities fraud, money laundering, perjury, giving false statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission and stealing from an employee benefit program.

Attorney Conflicts

Two days before issuing his guilty plea, Madoff appeared at a Manhattan federal court, apparently wearing a bulletproof vest, for a hearing to discuss possible conflicts of interest between him and his criminal defense lawyer, Ira Sorkin, according to Fox News.

Madoff informed the judge, despite the potential conflicts, he wished to be represented by Sorkin.

Sorkin reportedly invested thousands with Madoff, but withdrew the money in 1993. Some of Sorkin’s family members had also reportedly invested with Madoff. Additionally, Sorkin previously represented two men who were potential witnesses against Madoff.

In court, Madoff was questioned as to whether he understands Sorkin’s possible conflicts of interest and indicated that he does.

Prosecutors had said that there would be no plea deal with Madoff. He reportedly pleaded guilty to the charges without any expectation of a reduced sentence, and forfeited up to $170 billion.

Madoff’s sentencing will take place later this year. Most speculate that he will spend the rest of his life in prison. His firm is currently in the process of liquidation.

Investigation Ongoing

Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Lev Dassin has said the filing of criminal charges against Madoff does not end the matter and that an investigation is ongoing. Prosecutors have not revealed whether they believe members Madoff’s staff were aware of the scheme and Madoff’s wife, Ruth, has not been charged with any crimes.