The Madoff strategy

Lawyers for Bernie Madoff, who has admitted swindling his investors out of their savings, have asked the judge who’ll sentence him next week to give him a sentence that will allow him a chance of seeing freedom again.

Madoff could get a 125-year sentence. His lawyers think 12 would be more fair for his stealing $13 billion from over a thousand clients.

You have to give his attorney, Ira Sorkin, credit for chutzpah. In his letter to the judge, he did a fair amount of blaming the victim.

“We believe that the unified tone of the victim statements suggests a desire for a type of mob vengeance that, if countenanced here, would negate and render meaningless the role of the court,” Sorkin said.

“The significant anger and resentment evidence in the victims’ words is no doubt justified in light of the circumstances of this case,” Sorkin said. “Thankfully, none of the fury expressed in the victim statements has been as shocking as the death threats and anti-Semitic e-mails that have been directed toward Mr. Madoff and his counsel.”

Natalie Erger said her 78-year-old husband had been obliged to go back to work – initially as a telephone salesman, then in a local bagel store.

The Guardian chronicled another case:

Angelo Viola, 79, from Staten Island, New York, says he is “not the typical media portrayal” of a Madoff victim: “I live in a modest two-bedroom house and I own one car. I was a small business owner and I worked six days a week for most of my life and funded my own IRA [retirement account] in order to retire comfortably. Now I am considered under the poverty level and I do not think I can last another six months in my home.”

“At the age of 89, I find myself and my wife (86) devoid of future hope,” another victim said. “I find it hard to believe what he did to us and…all the charities affected by this Bastard.”

It’s an interesting strategy that — if it works — would use the statements intended to keep Madoff in prison longer to get him out earlier.

Here are the victim statements. You decide.

Madoff Statements