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JUST IN: Bernie Madoff Sentenced to Maximum of 150 Years

Posted on 29 Jun 2009

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The judge in the Bernie Madoff case just sentenced the disgraced financier who pulled off the biggest and most brazen investment fraud to 150 years in prison, the maximum sentence allowed.

Emotional victims had asked Judge Denny Chin to impose the maximum sentence of 150 years, an effective life term for the 71-year-old Madoff.

"How could somebody do this to us? How could this be real? We did nothing wrong," said Dominic Ambrosino, a retired New York City corrections officer. "We will have to sell our home and hope to survive on Social Security alone."

Madoff, seated next to his lawyers, lowered his eyes as his victims told their stories of financial ruin.

Madoff had pleaded guilty to securities fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, investment adviser fraud, three counts of money laundering, false statements, perjury, false filings with the SEC and theft from an employee benefit plan.

Defense attorneys had sought 12 years, while prosecutors wanted the maximum. The federal probation department had recommended 50 years. Chin called the fraud "staggering" and noted that it spanned more than 20 years. He says "the breach of trust was massive."