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Madoff won’t appeal 150-year prison term

by Brad A. Greenberg

July 9, 2009 | 1:31 am

Bernard Madoff’s attorney says that his client, who over four decades built the biggest Ponzi scheme in history, won’t appeal the 150-year prison term he received last month from Judge Denny Chin.

And why would he? Madoff is 71, and who knows how long he’ll last in prison. Period.

His attorney, Ira Sorkin, told The Daily Beast:

“It looks like we will not appeal,” Sorkin said. “If the court were to say, ‘150 years is excessive, but 40 years is not,’ what’s the point? He understands his future. He is not going to walk out of prison at age 106.”

Sorkin predicted the Second Circuit Court of Appeals would almost certainly find a stiff penalty well within reason for Madoff, who pleaded guilty to 11 felony counts and a conspiracy that exceeded $13 billion and may have been more than $50 billion.

“There is no such thing that a sentence is symbolic,” said Sorkin. “Still, [former WorldCom CEO] Bernie Ebbers got 25 years and [former Enron CEO] Jeff Skilling got 24 years. There is no doubt the Court of Appeals would endorse a substantial penalty, so 30 years or 40 years would not be ridiculous. So even if he got 15 percent time off for good behavior and could walk out at 98, again, what’s the point?”

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