The Probation Department had recommended 50 years and Madoff's attorney had argued for 12. Victims of the convicted Ponzi-scheme operator urged a federal judge to impose the maximum sentence of 150 years. From the WSJ:
Tom FitzMaurice, 63 years old, said at the hearing that he and his wife, Marcia, have nothing left as a result of Mr. Madoff's fraud and they have been forced to go back to work. Mr. FitzMaurice said he's working three jobs and ''there will be no retirement for us in the next few years.'' He urged U.S. District Judge Denny Chin in Manhattan to sentence "this criminal lowlife" to the maximum sentence. ''May God spare you no mercy,'' Mr. FitzMaurice said.
Federal Judge Denny Chin called Madoff's crimes "extraordinarily evil." From the NYT:
After victims told a packed courtroom that he should be shown no mercy in the case, Mr. Madoff stood up from the defense table to acknowledge the damage he had inflicted and expressed regret. "I'm responsible for a great deal of suffering and pain, I understand that," Mr. Madoff told the court. "I live in a tormented state now, knowing all of the pain and suffering that I've created. I've left a legacy of shame, as some of my victims have pointed out, to my family and my grandchildren." Addressing his victims seated in the courtroom, he said: "I will turn and face you. I'm sorry. I know that doesn't help you."
After the sentence, the courtroom erupted in cheers and applause. Madoff stood facing the judge with his hands clasped in front of him.