Madoff's brother sentenced to 10 years for fraud

NEW YORK: Peter Madoff, brother of shamed US financier Bernard Madoff, was sentenced on Thursday to 10 years in prison for cooking the books at the family investment firm.

Peter Madoff, 67, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud during his role as book keeper for Bernard Madoff's once widely heralded but in fact fraudulent Wall Street firm.

The brother has also been slapped with stringent penalties that strip him of virtually everything he owns. Bernard Madoff is serving a 150-year sentence after pleading guilty to the multi-billion-dollar pyramid scheme.

"Peter Madoff was a gatekeeper, who was supposed to guard against fraud, but instead enabled it, facilitating his brother Bernie's breath-taking scheme by falsifying compliance records and lying to both regulators and clients," US Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.

"The decade he will spend in prison and the disgorgement of his assets are a just result."

Prosecutors say Peter Madoff did incredibly well through his brother's scheme, in which investors' capital was robbed to pay fake dividends, giving the appearance of an unusually successful Wall Street investment advisory firm.

Peter Madoff insists he had no idea that the whole firm was a fiction. However, he clearly did little to question where the money was coming from -- including his.

The judge ordered Madoff to pay back $143 billion, which represents everything he and his family own, and an enormous, symbolic additional amount.

This includes assets belonging to his wife Marion and daughter Shana. The surrendered items include several homes and a Ferrari sports car.

Bernard Madoff was the toast of Wall Street for years and remained advisor to a multitude of stars and well-connected members of the American-Jewish community, right up until his arrest in December 2008 and the collapse of his scheme.

Two years after that arrest, on December 11, 2010, Bernard Madoff's eldest son Mark was found hanged in his Manhattan apartment.

- AFP/al

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