February 21, 2024

Bernard Madoff (C) leaves federal court after a trial in Manhattan on January 5, 2009 in New York City. Madoff is accused of running a $ 50 billion Ponzi program through his investment company.

Hiroko Masuike | Getty Images

President Donald Trump is unlikely to grant pardon to Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff, according to a lawyer who tried to commute the shameful financier’s sentence. However, the attorney said he hired senior officials to do this.

Attorney James Craven sent letters to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn. In an attempt to reduce Madoff’s 150-year sentence, the attorney told CNBC in an email.

Brandon Sample, Madoff’s attorney, referred to CNBC as “an attorney who worked on grace for the former Wall Street tycoon”.

These letters were sent to the Justice Department in addition to a pardon. Madoff, who said he was dying of kidney disease, did not apologize.

“I contacted Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Connecticut Congressman Jim Himes, where Ruth Madoff lives,” Craven said in an email when asked what Madoff’s team had done beyond the petition to reduce prison time to reach.

Ruth Madoff is Bernie Madoff’s wife. She has lived in Greenwich, part of the Himes borough, for years.

Craven said there was “no response to 2 or 3 letters to Mnuchin”.

“Himes responded because he’s Ruth’s Congressman and someone in his office said he would take care of it,” added Craven.

He refused to say when the letters were sent or to provide copies of this correspondence.

A Himes representative confirmed that the firm had received a solicitation from a lawyer to address a Madoff mercy issue and that the Congressman’s firm did not intervene.

“Typically, Himes Congressman’s office does not participate in legal proceedings. In this case, we received a request from a member’s attorney asking us to investigate a mercy issue,” said Patrick Malone, a spokesman for Himes’ office. opposite CNBC. “After examining the application, it was decided not to intervene on behalf of the member.”

Finance officials did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Craven said he was not convinced Trump would commute Madoff’s verdict because “his case is not the most sympathetic”.

Madoff pleaded guilty in 2009 to defrauding $ 65 billion in fraud involving his Manhattan finance firm.

Trump is expected to pardon or commute the sentences of dozens of people on his last day in office.

In early 2020, Madoff asked a federal judge to grant him an early release after announcing that he had incurable kidney disease and that he had less than 18 months to live. The judge later denied this request.

Mnuchin not only has a direct line to Trump, but also a connection to the Madoff case.

ProPublica reported in 2016 that Mnuchin liquidated his fortune after inheriting his mother’s investment portfolio, who was reportedly a long-time investor in Madoff.

The liquidation resulted in the Mnuchins making $ 3.2 million, ProPublica reported at the time.

The trustee, who was appointed to get money back for people betrayed from their investments with Madoff, later sued to get the money back from the Mnuchins. However, according to the BBC, this case was later dropped due to time constraints.