Madoff learns his fate today

City A.M. Reporter
BERNARD Madoff, who became a symbol of greed in the financial crisis for masterminding Wall Street&rsquo;s biggest investment fraud, faces the rest of his life in prison in one of the stiffest punishments for white-collar crime when he is sentenced today.<br /><br />The courtroom drama will unfold with the swindler hearing angry defrauded investors speak of their financial ruin. As he makes what could be his final appearance in public, Madoff, 71, will read a statement before a judge hands down a decision.<br /><br />More than six months after Madoff&rsquo;s arrest, US aprosecutors remain uncertain how much was involved -- such was the complexity of the financial web he wove around the world to operate his Ponzi scheme.<br /><br />In a Ponzi scheme early investors are paid with money from new clients.<br /><br />About 1,341 account holders lost about $13bn in the classic &ldquo;cash in, cash out&rdquo; fraud, according to court papers. They also say $170bn flowed through Madoff&rsquo;s principal account over decades and last November.<br /><br />Madoff, a former chairman of the Nasdaq stock market, pleaded guilty in March to 11 charges, including securities fraud, money laundering and perjury that carry a combined maximum sentence of 150 years.