Notorious Ponzi scammer Bernie Madoff will not appeal the 150-year prison sentence that was handed down to him late last month, apparently resigned to the fact that he will spend the rest of his life behind bars for his $65 billion fraud.
Madoff's attorney, Ira Sorkin, said Madoff had reached the decision, but would not comment on his reasons for doing so.
Judge Denny Chin sentenced Madoff to the maximum term June 29, saying it was a symbolic sentence for a crime that showed "extraordinary evil" and "took a staggering human toll." As Chin read his sentence, the courtroom, filled with many of Madoff's devastated victims, broke into applause.
At the hearing, Madoff, dressed in a dark suit, white shirt and black tie, told the court that when he started the scam, he thought he'd be able to "work my way out." He said he lives in a tormented state and expressed regret of leaving a "legacy of shame" to his family and grandchildren."
He maintained that he acted alone, saying, "How do you excuse lying to brother and sons? How do you excuse lying and deceiving a wife who stood by you for 50 years and still stands by you? There is no excuse for that and I don't ask for forgiveness."
He then faced his victims in court and said, "I'm sorry." Madoff was given 10 days to appeal the sentence.
Later that day, Madoff's wife Ruth released a statement through her attorney in which she expressed her shock and feeling of betrayal of her husband's crime, saying, "The man who committed this horrible fraud is not the man whom I have known for all these years."
She said that since the fraud was revealed in December, she has thought "first, that so many people who trusted [Madoff] would be ruined financially and emotionally, and second, that my life with the man I have known for over 50 years was over."
Earlier this week, federal prosecutors allowed Ruth Madoff's passport to be returned to her, in what people involved in the case said was "a clear sign" that she will not be prosecuted as an accomplice in her husband's scheme. She had surrendered it as part of Madoff's bail condition.
Late last week, Ruth was evicted from the luxury penthouse apartment she shared with Bernie on Manhattan's Upper East Side, as U.S. Marshalls took custody of the $7 million duplex and changed the locks.
Victims of Madoff's Ponzi scheme had been outraged that first Bernie and then Ruth Madoff had been allowed to remain in the luxury apartment for the past six months. Now, the property will be sold as part of a restitution plan for victims still being worked out.
An agreement worked out with prosecutors left Ruth with $2.5 million in cash. She is expected to find a new home soon, somewhere in the U.S., according to people close to her.
Madoff, still being held in Manhattan's Metropolitan Correctional Center, is awaiting assignment to a permanent federal prison.