Monday, June 29, 2009

Convicted Wall Street swindler Bernard Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison Monday for a fraud so extensive that the judge said he needed to send a message to potential imitators and to victims who demanded harsh punishment. U.S. District Judge Denny Chin rejected a request by Madoff's lawyer for leniency and said he disagreed that victims of the Ponzi scheme were seeking mob vengeance. "Here the message must be sent that Mr. Madoff's crimes were extraordinarily evil and that this kind of manipulation of the system is not just a bloodless crime that takes place on paper, but one instead that takes a staggering toll," Chin said. The judge said the estimate that Madoff has cost his victims more than $13 billion was conservative because it did not include money from feeder funds. "Objectively speaking, the fraud here was staggering," he said.-TOM HAYS and LARRY NEUMEISTER Associated Press

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