Madoff victims invited to say if he should get out of prison

Madoff victims invited to say if he should get out of prison

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NEW YORK (AP) — Victims of imprisoned financier Bernard Madoff's mammoth Ponzi scheme can express views on whether he should be released early from prison, prosecutors said Friday.

The U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan announced that those who suffered financial losses in the scheme have until the end of February to submit emails to Judge Denny Chin through the prosecutor's office.

“If you are a victim of Madoff’s crimes and you wish to provide your views to Judge Chin with respect to Madoff’s motion for a sentence reduction, you may do so,” prosecutors said.

Chin, who now sits on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, will decide whether to grant Madoff's compassionate relief request to be released early from his 150-year prison sentence because of medical issues.

Madoff, 81, requested early release this week on grounds that he has terminal kidney disease and less than 18 months to live.

Madoff has been imprisoned since he pleaded guilty in early 2009 to defrauding thousands of clients of billions of dollars as he oversaw their accounts, sometimes for decades.

In his request for early release, his lawyer cited end-stage kidney disease and other “chronic, serious medical conditions,” including hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

Prosecutors have not yet responded in writing to the request by Madoff, who is housed at the federal prison in Butner, North Carolina, where he entered the palliative care unit of the facility in July.

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons has already denied Madoff's request, concluding in December that his early release would “minimize the severity of his offense.”

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