With Bernard Madoff subject to a 150-year maximum sentence, defense attorney Ira Lee Sorkin asked federal judge Denny Chin yesterday to set aside the “emotion and hysteria” surrounding the largest Ponzi scheme in history and to sentence Madoff to only 12 years in prison, the New York Law Journal reports. Madoff, 71, has an approximate life expectancy of 13 years, and therefore a sentence of 12 years would be “just short of an effective life sentence,” Sorkin said.
Sorkin submitted an affidavit from Herbert Hoelter of the National Center on Institutions and Alternatives, who analyzed more than 42,000 fraud-related sentences between 1999 and 2008. He found 14 cases comparable to Madoff’s where the defendant was assigned a guideline range of a life sentence, did not receive a downward departure for cooperating with the government and pleaded guilty instead of going to trial. The average sentence for the 14 was 15.3 years. “Because the majority of these cases involved loss figures in excess of $400,000,000 — as does Mr. Madoff’s case — we respectfully urge this Court to impose a sentence on Mr. Madoff that reflects a just degree of proportionality,” Sorkin said. Prosecutors will file their position on Friday.