Bernie Madoff was sentenced to 150 years prison today for his $65bn scam. Few have jumped to his defence (probably because what he did was indefensible on any level), but has he been given a tough deal?
I looked at some of the sentences handed out to other legendary criminal fraudsters and considered the value of their frauds and the lengths of their sentences. I think he has it easy.
He could take some comfort from the knowledge that if his Return on Sentence (ROS) matched that of Will Hoover, he would be in jail for a total of 500,000 years! I calculate ROS as the amount of money involved in a fraud or scam, divided by the number of years given to the perpetrator in sentencing.
No doubt he would far rather be sentenced using the ROS of Alves dos Reis who in 1930 was convicted of a scam that would be worth $150 trillion in today’s money. He got 20 years. Using my ROS calculation on this sentence, bad boy Bernie would be free after just 3 days.
So, is Bernie lucky or badly done to? I guess if you are going to be given a sentence that pretty much guarantees you are going to spend the rest of your life behind bars, you might as well break some records while you are at it.
Here are a few of the world’s biggests scamsters, or the world’s biggest losers when it came to sentencing. I have calculated ROS and also Bernie’s sentence if he had been lucky/unlucky enough to be sentenced on same basis:
Table drawn up while learning googledocs and watching Andy Murray win the latest game at Wimbledon ever. Some of the greatest scamsters and fraudsters – with sentences. NOTE the dollar values are approximated to today’s money. All sums are in thousands of dollars. $150 trillion is hard to fit into the columns otherwise.
Click on this link to see the table – it seems to have messed up the flow for the blog so it isn’t here now.
You can get more information, including the references I used, for these frauds and scams here. This is a Googledoc and I have left it open so that if you want to, you can add your favourite fraudsters.