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Peter Madoff sentenced in Ponzi scheme

Dec. 21, 2012 at 12:24 PM   |   Comments

NEW YORK, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- Peter Madoff, brother of convicted financial fraudster Bernard Madoff, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his role in the scheme, officials said.

Peter Madoff was chief compliance officer for his brother's Wall Street investment firm while the multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme was perpetrated for 10 years.

U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain sentenced Peter Madoff Thursday, making him the second person to be sent to prison after four years of investigations into the fraud, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The 10-year prison term was expected because of a plea agreement reached months ago when Peter Madoff admitted to criminal charges. He previously agreed to forfeit his personal assets, including a Ferrari, and more than $10 million in cash.

Peter Madoff, 67, maintained he didn't know his brother's firm was a sham until days before it collapsed in December 2008, wiping out life savings for many investors.

"I am deeply ashamed of my conduct," he said Thursday. "I have tried to atone by pleading guilty and have agreed to forfeit all my present and future assets."

Swain said Peter Madoff had a key role in his brother's Ponzi scheme, commenting Peter Madoff's contention he was in the dark about the fraud was "frankly not believable."

"Peter Madoff's role was not at all passive," Swain said. "Peter Madoff did nothing in the way of oversight. But still worse than doing nothing to oversee the operation, he lied to authorities."

If the plea agreement weren't in place, Swain said Peter Madoff's sentence would have been "literally off the sentencing guidelines charts."

The plea arrangement included the 10-year sentence recommended under federal guidelines and suggested by prosecutors.

Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme bilked customers of about $65 billion. The court-appointed trustee recovering funds for victims estimated about $11 billion has been recovered so far.

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