The infamous case of Bernard L. Madoff came to an end, for him at least, yesterday when he was sentenced to an appropriate 150 years in prison in U.S. District Court in New York.
Mr. Madoff, 71, is a formerly highly respected, successful operator of an investment firm. He pleaded guilty in March to 11 felony counts of fraud, money laundering, perjury and theft. For decades he ran a Ponzi scheme game in which people's new investments were not invested, but instead were used to give other investors the impression that they were earning profits. In the meantime, Mr. Madoff and his wife Ruth enjoyed an extravagant lifestyle with residences in Manhattan, Long Island and Palm Beach.
Mr. Madoff's activities ruined thousands of people, many of them older, who were left with nothing when his fraud was revealed. His lawyers had asked for a 12-year sentence. The judge gave him 150 years, citing the need to make an example of him to other money managers with larcenous tendencies.
Although Mr. Madoff is to be incarcerated for the rest of his life, as he should be, loose ends remain. One of them is how he was able to get away with what he did for years under theoretical Securities and Exchange Commission oversight. Reports of investigations, due over the next few months, should make that clearer. They will include recommendations of measures to see that this does not happen again.