Madoff’s brother gets 10-year prison term
Peter Madoff says he’s ‘deeply ashamed’ for role in $17.3 billion scheme. Prosecutors said that if Peter Madoff had done his job, regulators would likely have detected the fraud years earlier.
NEW YORK — Peter Madoff was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in prison for crimes that helped his brother, Bernard Madoff, swindle investors out of billions of dollars in a Ponzi scheme that collapsed four years ago this month.
A lawyer by training, Peter Madoff is the second figure in the scandal to be sentenced.
His older brother, Bernard, pleaded guilty in March 2009 and is serving a prison term of 150 years.
Madoff, in a slate blue suit and striped blue tie, entered the crowded courtroom accompanied only by his lawyers, although many members of his family and friends had written letters of support for him.
The 63 character references stood in stark contrast to his brother’s sentencing, when the judge in that case noted that he had not received a single supportive letter.
Still, a handful of victims attended the hearing, including two who spoke emotionally about the financial and psychological hardships they are enduring and urged the judge to impose a life sentence.
In his own brief statement to the judge, Peter Madoff said he was “deeply ashamed” of his conduct and had “tried to atone by pleading guilty.”
He added: “I am profoundly sorry that my failures have let so many people down, including my own loved ones and family.”
In June, Peter Madoff, 67, admitted to a range of crimes, including falsifying documents, lying to securities regulators, and filing sham tax returns.
Prosecutors said that if Peter Madoff had properly done his job as chief compliance officer at Bernard Madoff Investment Securities, regulators would likely have detected the fraud years earlier.
Peter Madoff, was not charged with knowing about the Ponzi scheme, and insists that he first learned about it only 36 hours before his brother’s arrest.
During the sentencing in Federal District Court in Manhattan, Judge Laura Taylor Swain expressed skepticism about that assertion.
“Peter Madoff’s contention that he did not know that anything was wrong with the investment advisory business is beneath the dignity” of a sophisticated Wall Street executive, Swain said.
“It is also, frankly, not believable,” she added.
As part of a plea deal, Peter Madoff had agreed to a prison term of at least 10 years and a forfeiture of $143 billion.
The penalty, which he could not possibly pay, is tied to the amount of the crime’s proceeds — and a clear signal that the government will seize all of his assets and distribute them to victims.
Madoff’s customers lost about $17.3 billion in the fraud, according to the Madoff bankruptcy trustee.
About $9.3 billion has been recovered, and of that, roughly $3.7 billion has been distributed.