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Madoff's brother gets 10 years for fraud

FBI spokesman J. Peter Donald said Peter Madoff,

FBI spokesman J. Peter Donald said Peter Madoff, seen here in 2009, was taken into custody at his lawyer's Manhattan office at about 7 a.m. Friday, June 29, 2012, in Manhattan. (April 3, 2009) Credit: Howard Schnapp

Peter B. Madoff will spend the next decade behind bars for helping his older brother and business partner, Bernard L. Madoff, carry out a massive fraud that cheated investors out of billions.

Peter Madoff, 67, of Old Westbury, is the second person in the scandal to be sent to prison since his brother admitted to running a Ponzi scheme four years ago.

Before U.S. District Court Judge Laura Taylor Swain in Manhattan imposed the sentence Thursday, a deal worked out between Madoff and prosecutors, he apologized to those who lost money and their life savings, as well as to his family. He said he accepted full responsibility for his crimes and was ready to receive his punishment from the court.

"I am deeply ashamed of my conduct," Madoff told the judge. "I am trying to atone by pleading guilty."

Even though the 10-year sentence was the maximum the judge said she could impose, Emma DeVita, 84, of Chalfont, Pa., said the judge was "too" lenient. DeVita said she lost all of her life's savings that she and her late husband worked for more than two decades to save.

"I don't think it was enough," DeVita said after the sentencing. "He took more than 10 years of my life."

Peter Madoff was the senior lawyer and chief compliance officer at his brother's company, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, for nearly four decades, but admitted that he didn't perform any meaningful oversight over the firm. Authorities said Peter Madoff signed off on documents and lied to clients and regulators, maintaining the appearance that he was performing his compliance duties.

On June 29, Peter Madoff pleaded guilty to conspiracy and falsifying the investment firm's records. He insisted, however, that he did not know about his brother's Ponzi scheme or take part in it. He has agreed to forfeit all of his assets, including proceeds from his two homes on Long Island -- in Old Westbury and East Hampton -- and a Manhattan apartment.

Customers who invested with Bernard Madoff's firm lost an estimated $17 billion to $20 billion in the fraud. About $9 billion has been recovered. Bernard Madoff is serving a 150-year prison term.

Swain allowed Peter Madoff to begin serving his sentence starting in February at the medium-security Otisville Correctional Facility upstate, as his attorney, John Wing, requested.

Victim Amy Luri-Nissenbaum, 49, objected to the accommodation by the court.

"I feel he should go away today," she said.

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