June 29, 2009— -- The man whom prosecutors say ran the biggest financial fraud in U.S. history will be sentenced in a New York courtroom today and faces up to 150 years in jail. Many of Bernard Madoff's investor victims will be there to watch as the man who ruined their lives learns his fate.
The government has requested that Judge Denny Chin sentence Madoff to a term that is the equivalent to consecutive maximum sentences for all the counts in his indictment for masterminding the $65 billion Ponzi scheme that robbed senior citizens, family members, and even charities of billions of dollars.
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Bernie's wife, Ruth Madoff, will not be in the courtroom reportedly because she fears seeing the victims face to face, many of whom were once close friends.
His sons Andrew and Mark also will not be there. After their father confessed his crimes to them, they called the FBI and have not talked with their father, or mother, since. While neither son has been charged with any wrongdoing, the investigation continues.
People who spent time with Madoff after the arrest say he showed not remorse but contempt for his victims, even after two of them committed suicide.
"He did not seem like the most contrite person I've ever met," said former New York City police detective Nick Casale, who spent weeks guarding Madoff.
Hundreds of Madoff's victims are expected at the courthouse today many of who have already submitted letters to the Judge Denny Chin.
"I feel I've been economically raped," wrote Robert Shapiro.
"I had no income, no other savings, no retirement fund, nor college fund for my children's education," said Lori Sirotkin.
"The emotional toll that this has taken on me has been devastating," wrote Maureen Ebel.
Madoff's lawyer, Ike Sorkin, suggested last week that a sentence of 12 years "will sufficiently address the goals of deterrence, protecting the public, and promoting respect for the law."
But the majority of Madoff's victims disagree and many have asked the court that the 71 year-old be forced to spend the rest of his life behind bars.
"He has condemned his investors to a life of hell while his hell will be the prison you sentence him to," said Emma De Vita.
"The most that you can do is ensure he never takes a breath of air as a free man," wrote Mike De Vita.