December 21, 2012
Madoff's brother gets 10 years
Peter Madoff arrirves at Manhattan federal court for his sentencing yesterday. - ap
NEW YORK (AP):
The brother of imprisoned financier Bernard Madoff was sentenced yesterday to 10 years in prison for crimes committed in the shadow of his notorious sibling by a judge who said she disbelieved his claims that he did not know about the epic fraud.
Peter Madoff, 67, agreed to serve the maximum sentence allowable to the charges of conspiracy and falsifying the books and records of an investment adviser that he pleaded guilty to in June.
US District judge Laura Taylor Swain urged him to tell the truth even after he reports to prison on February 6 about what he knows about the multi-decade fraud that cost thousands of investors their original $20 billion investment.
The judge said Peter Madoff was "frankly not believable" when he claimed at his plea that he only learned about the fraud when his brother revealed it to him just before he surrendered to authorities.
Peter Madoff spoke only briefly before he was sentenced, saying: "I am deeply ashamed of my conduct and have tried to atone by pleading guilty and have agreed to forfeit all of my present and future assets."
He added: "I am profoundly sorry that my failures let many people down, including my loved ones."
Two investors spoke during the proceeding, which ended in less than an hour.
Investor Michael T De Vita, 62, also demanded that the truth be forced out.
"I believe it to be physically impossible for a single person to carry out such a gargantuan task all by himself," he said.
De Vita said investors "have waited four years for others to accept responsibility for this massive crime. We are still waiting for that today."
"All of this was preventable if only one person was willing to do the right thing and stop this in its tracks years ago. Peter Madoff could have been that person," he said.
The sentencing comes four years and a week after Bernard Madoff first revealed the fraud, which occurred over several decades as the former NASDAQ chairman built a reputation for delivering unparalleled investment results, even in bad times. The revelation came only days after the business sent out statements that made investors think their investments had grown to a total of more than $65 billion.
Peter Madoff said at his plea that he had no idea his brother was running a massive Ponzi scheme, paying off long-time investors at times with money from newer investors.
"My family was torn apart as a result of my brother's atrocious conduct," he said. "I was reviled by strangers as well as friends who assumed that I knew about the Ponzi scheme."
But he conceded that he followed his brother's instructions and helped him decide which favoured friends, clients and family members would receive the $300 million that remained in the company's accounts. The cheques were never sent.