Madoff Gets the Max!
According to the muted CNBC television that I’m watching here at Fool HQ, Bernard Madoff got the maximum 150 year sentence. Judge Chin called the crime extraordinarily evil and noted that symbolism is important.
One victim in court today told Madoff directly “may God spare you no mercy.”
While I’m not one to invoke God, I agree with the spirit of that. This is a man who not only defrauded friends and his own ethnic group, but he went after charities as well. Anyone who defrauds a charitable organization gets a special place reserved for them in whatever Hell their religion believes in.
Madoff may have been a bit of a sideshow to the credit crises fueled market collapse, but his crimes shook the trust in the system. And while it was never perfect, the system needed to show the investing public that it still functions. That is the importance of symbolism.
When you invest with any SEC registered party, you should feel confident about not being defrauded. Although the lessons of “if it looks too good to be true, it probably is” and “don’t put all your eggs in the same basket” never go out of style, a verdict so severe will be hailed as a future deterrent of crimes of this nature.
Finally I can’t help but wonder what impact this max verdict will have for Allen Stanford, if he is found guilty of the Ponzi scheme allegations he is facing.