Madoff team calls for mercy

LAWYERS for Bernard Madoff, who has admitted running a giant $65bn (&pound;40bn) &ldquo;Ponzi&rdquo; scheme, have pleaded for leniency from the New York judge who is preparing to sentence the financier at a hearing next week.<br /><br />Amid calls from victims for the fraudster to die of old age in prison, his lawyer Ira Lee Sorkin said there was a &ldquo;mob vengeance&rdquo; mentality and that Madoff&rsquo;s decision to hand himself in needed to be taken into account.<br /><br />Sorkin suggested a 12-year sentence would be appropriate, rejecting calls for multiple life sentences, as Madoff has cooperated fully with his bail conditions.<br /><br />He pointed out Madoff met with David Kotz, inspector general of the US financial regulator the Securities and Exchange Commission, to help them investigate how they failed to detect the epic fraud. <br /><br />And he said 71-year old Madoff is only expected to live another 13 years, meaning a 12-year sentence would &ldquo;sufficiently address the goals of deterrence, protecting the public and promoting respect for the law without being &lsquo;greater than necessary&rsquo; to achieve them&rdquo;.<br /><br />The maximum sentence on all 11 charges Madoff faces, including securities fraud, money laundering and perjury, adds up to 150 years in prison.<br /><br />Madoff, a former chairman of Nasdaq and a once-respected money manager who was sought after by investors for his seemingly excellent returns, has been in jail since he pleaded guilty.<br /><br />Lawyers representing some of the defrauded clients seeking return of their money said recently Madoff should be sent to a maximum-security prison for the rest of his life.