What sentence should a Ponzi get

July 8, 2009

Federal prosecutors are sort of boxing themselves in when it comes to sentencing requests for big Ponzimeisters.

Bernie Madoff, the king of Ponzis, got 150 years. And now federal prosecutors in NY are seeking an almost equally as punitive 145-year sentence for Marc Dreier, the mastermind of a much, much smaller Ponzi that fleeced some hedge funds out of some $400 million.

Dealbreaker’s Bess Levin surmises that Dreier, who was arrested in December a few days before Madoff, must be disappointed because he’s once again been upstaged by Bernie.

OK, I can understand the 150-year sentence for Madoff. Sure, it was overkill but it was intended to send a message as much as anything else. But Dreier is a mere Ponzi piker compared to Bernie.

And what about Tom Petters? The Minnesota businessman was charged by prosecutors with bilking hedge funds out some $2 billion. Most people aren’t familiar with the Petters case because it unfolded around the same time a little investment bank called Lehman Brothers was filing for bankruptcy.

If Petters is convicted, what should he get 147 years? 

And don’t forget about R. Allen Stanford, the alleged architect of the second-biggest Ponzi. Sure, we’re only talking about $7 billion–chump change compared to Bernie’s estimated $60 billion scheme.

But if Stanford is convicted, he probably should get a sentence of 149 years and 11 months, according this prosecutorial math.

It’s all sort of weird when you consider that many convicted killers spend less than 15 years in prision.

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