20090629 madoff semtenced 18
A courtroom rendering of former Wall Street financier Bernard Madoff (C foreground), defense attorney Ira Sorkin (C-L), federal prosecutor Marc Litt (C-R) and judge Denny Chin (R) are seen as Madoff plead guilty to a $50 billion Ponzi scheme in a Manhattan federal court. - 


Kai Ryssdal: All through the six months that Bernie Madoff's been a household name, it's been tough to pin down exactly how much his Ponzi scheme was worth. In court in New York today the judge said a figure of $13 billion was conservative. Losses by Madoff's victims have been estimated at $60 billion. Prosecutors say when all's said and done it's more like $170 billion. There was no such ambiguity in Madoff's sentence this morning -- 150 years that the judge in the case said he hopes will send a strong message. For some of Madoff's victims who were in court today, it wasn't strong enough.

Miriam Siegman: I got up, turned my back to him, and walked out on him. That's what I thought of him -- 150 years, why bother?

Richard Friedman: Tens of thousands of Madoff investors have been serving life sentences since last December. In essence, they don't even have money for room and board. They have to sell their homes, their possessions. It's very sad.

Norma Hill: I think that 150 years was a very fair sentence. He should never, ever see the light of day.

Jen Meerow: Yeah, I think what I'm happy is that Madoff will be off the table. You know, it's been a foregone conclusion that he is going to get life. So this hasn't been some kind of closure, like in a murder trial, well, will justice be served? We knew justice would be served for him; his life is over.

George Nierenberg: Well, there's closure to his life, not closure to any of the victims' lives.

That was Miriam Siegman, Richard Friedman, Norma Hill, Jen Meerow, and George Nierenberg outside the federal courthouse in Manhattan today.