Bernie Madoff loses bid for early prison release

Judge who sentenced Madoff to 150 years in prison says he intended for him to die there and nothing has happened to change his mind.

Ben Ariel ,

Bernie Madoff
Bernie Madoff

Bernie Madoff lost his bid for early release from prison on Thursday when the judge who sentenced him to 150 years behind bars said he intended for him to die there and nothing has happened in the last 11 years to change his mind, The Associated Press reports.

Judge Denny Chin, who now sits on the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals, noted the continuing suffering of Madoff’s thousands of victims who lost $17.5 billion when a decades-long scheme that deceived them into thinking their money was invested properly was exposed in December 2008.

“I also believe that Mr. Madoff was never truly remorseful, and that he was only sorry that his life as he knew it was collapsing around him. Even at the end, he was trying to send more millions of his ill-gotten gains to family members, friends, and certain employees," Chin wrote, according to AP.

The judge said he'd reviewed public statements made by Madoff, 82, and found they “show that he has never fully accepted responsibility for his actions and that he even faults his victims."

In February, Madoff’s attorney wrote a letter to a US federal judge in which he petitioned for Madoff’s early release, saying Madoff suffers from "terminal kidney disease, among other serious medical conditions."

Prosecutors later said that Madoff should not be released early from prison even if kidney disease kills him within months, citing the scope and magnitude of his decades-long Ponzi scheme.

Attorney Brandon Sample, representing Madoff, said in a statement he was disappointed with the ruling, adding he now hopes President Donald Trump would consider commuting the sentence.

“We implore the President to personally consider Madoff’s rapidly declining health," Sample said.

Madoff asked Trump to commute his sentence in July of 2019.

Madoff’s scheme was exposed in December 2008 as the national economy collapsed. Madoff pleaded guilty to fraud charges and was sentenced by Chin in the summer of 2009.

Chin said in his written decision Thursday that in 2009 “it was fully my intent that he live out the rest of his life in prison."

He noted that Madoff's lawyers then had asked for a sentence of as little as a dozen years, hoping their client would again see “the light of day.”

“I was not persuaded," Chin said. “I did not believe that Mr. Madoff was deserving of that hope. Nothing has happened in the 11 years since to change my thinking."