Bernard Madoff’s lawyer has told a judge scheduled to sentence the disgraced financier next week that 12 years in prison will be sufficient punishment for the man who swindled tens of billions of investor’s dollars in one of history’s biggest frauds.
Attorney Ira Sorkin also said in court papers made public Tuesday that his 71-year-old client “will speak to the shame he has felt and to the pain he has caused” when U.S. District Judge Denny Chin sentences him on Monday.
“We seek neither mercy nor sympathy,” Sorkin wrote. But he urged Chin to “set aside the emotion and hysteria attendant to this case” as he determines the sentence.
Madoff faces up to 150 years in prison after pleading guilty on March 12 to 11 felony counts including securities fraud and perjury. He admitted operating a massive Ponzi scheme for decades.
Sorkin said a sentence of a dozen years in prison would acknowledge Madoff’s voluntary surrender, full acceptance of responsibility, meaningful cooperation efforts and the nonviolent nature of his crime.
Still, the lawyer added that a prison term of 15 to 20 years would not disproportionately punish Madoff compared to sentences given other white collar criminals.
“Indeed, such a range will appropriately eliminate concerns for disparate treatment among similarly situated nonviolent offenders,” he wrote.
The lawyer included in his submission to the court late Monday an analysis of sentences given to defendants in fraud-related cases between 1999 and 2008 that concluded the average sentence when leniency was not provided was 15.3 years in prison.
He also noted that Madoff’s age would leave him with an average life expectancy of 12.6 more years.