An attorney for Peter Madoff says his client's plea bargain in brother Bernard Madoff's $20 billion fraud includes a "draconian forfeiture" that will leave him penniless.
NEW YORK — The brother of imprisoned Wall Street financier Bernard Madoff will be left penniless and spend his remaining days as a "jobless pariah" in or out of prison, a defense lawyer said in court papers filed publically Monday.
Attorney John Wing made the observations in a sentencing memorandum released three days before Peter Madoff is to be sentenced in Manhattan for his role in a fraud that cheated thousands of people out of $20 billion. Peter Madoff had pleaded guilty to conspiracy and falsifying books and records of an investment adviser.
The government in its own sentencing memorandum last week said Madoff earned the 10-year sentence he bargained for by failing to stop his brother's crimes as he worked with him for more than four decades.
Wing did not ask U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain to give his 67-year-old client less than the amount of time he had agreed to in his plea deal with prosecutors, but he wrote about the sadness that had overtaken Madoff's life since his brother revealed in December 2008 that he had operated a Ponzi scheme for decades. The sentencing is scheduled for Thursday.
Wing said Peter Madoff was shocked to learn two days before his older brother's arrest that the family's investment business where he worked as chief compliance officer was a sham.
"Peter truly believed that his brother was a brilliant securities trader and as a result he encouraged his own family to invest millions of dollars in accounts managed by his brother," Wing wrote.
Peter Madoff's plea bargain included a "draconian forfeiture order that in one stroke stripped him of all existing assets, his home, his pension, his savings, his personal property, etc. and of all future assets and income should he even have the opportunity to earn any income after serving his prison sentence," the lawyer said. He will not be allowed to collect Social Security either, Wing said.
"In short, Peter Madoff has accepted responsibility and attempted to atone for his misconduct by entering a guilty plea and consenting to a massive forfeiture that will effectively render him penniless for the rest of his life," Wing said. "Peter's life has been shattered by his brother's Ponzi scheme as well as his own conduct and guilty plea, and he will almost certainly live out his remaining days as a jobless pariah, in or out of prison."
Wing said Peter Madoff was ruined by his brother, who had mistreated him when he was growing up in Queens. Bernard Madoff, eight years older than Peter, was viewed as "the prince" by their mother and "Peter longed for the love and approval of his brother and family," the lawyer said.
"Peter had a large build, and Bernie ridiculed him mercilessly, calling him 'Rollo,' which hurt Peter deeply. One friend recalled that even as an adult, Peter's friends were struck by his view of himself as 'a fat boy who always wanted to do the right thing, a little fat boy who wanted so much to please his father, and his older brother,'" Wing said.
Bernard Madoff pleaded guilty to fraud charges and is serving 150 years in prison in Butner, N.C.
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