Disgraced financier Bernard Madoff has been sentenced to 150 years in prison for fraud.
The 71-year-old received the maximum sentence possible for what was described as Wall Street's biggest and most brazen investment fraud.
Cheers and applause came from the courtroom as Madoff stood facing the judge with his hands clasped in front of him.
'I leave a legacy of shame to my family. I am responsible for a great deal of suffering and pain. I live in a tormented state,' he told the court.
Madoff confessed to running a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme in which investors were paid returns from money paid by later investors.
Among his victims were Hollywood celebrities, international movers and shakers, some of the world's most famous banks and Jewish charities, some of which were forced to close after the scheme unravelled.
Many of his investors were retirees who once thought their life savings were in safe hands, and now face financial ruin.
Madoff told the court in March that of the billions of dollars which passed through his hands during his three-decade scam he never invested one cent in the market.
Instead he stashed the funds in a Chase Manhattan bank account.
The funds were then used to pay out 'dividends' to investors.
Investigators do not know how much was stolen, according to court papers.
Prosecutors say $170bn flowed through the principal Madoff account over the decades, and that weeks before the financier's December arrest the firm's statements showed a total of $65bn in accounts.The trustee winding down the Madoff firm has so far collected $1.2 billion to return to investors.


No comments: