Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) on Monday asked Attorney General William Barr to reject requests from Ponzi schemers Bernie Madoff and R. Allen Stanford for early prison release due to COVID-19.
Thousands of inmates and corrections officers in the country’s prisons have become infected with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus, the novel coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 disease.
In late March, Barr ordered the release from prison and into home confinement of eligible inmates, citing the risk of infection by the virus.
Kennedy, in an April 20 letter (pdf), urged Barr not to extend early release eligibility to the two convicted con men.
“I respectfully urge you to deny any request for early release made by Robert Allen Stanford, Bernie Madoff, and others who chose to devastate innocent Americans with their fraudulent schemes,” Kennedy wrote.
Madoff, who is 81, was the mastermind behind the biggest Ponzi scheme in history. He pleaded guilty in March 2009 to defrauding thousands of victims of over $64 billion. Following his sentencing, he was ordered to serve 150 years behind bars at a federal medical center in Butner, California.
“Releasing either of these individuals, or anyone similarly situated, would be an affront to those affected by their evil schemes, and a complete failure in the administration of justice,” Kennedy wrote.
In February, Madoff’s lawyer filed a request for compassionate release on grounds of terminal kidney failure and the COVID-19 outbreak proliferating in the prison system.
Kennedy wrote that he believes Stanford, who was sentenced to 110 years for orchestrating an $8 billion investment-fraud scheme “second only to that of Bernie Madoff’s in size,” is likely to file for early release on grounds of virus concerns.
“Our efforts should be focused on protecting those who protected us; our parents, grandparents, and military veterans who led crime-free lives,” Kennedy wrote, adding, “Criminals such as Stanford and Madoff who preyed on the elderly should be the last ones to benefit from the change in circumstances COVID-19 has caused.”
The CCP virus has spread aggressively across the world, with a Johns Hopkins tally on Tuesday showing the number of infections in the United States has hit 787,960, while the death toll is 42,374.
The Louisiana senator also called on the Federal Bureau of Prisons to publish information about inmates who are released under the new virus-related orders, including their name, last known address, and their offense.
Thousands of victims of Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, meanwhile, are set to receive checks totaling $378 million from a special fund, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said in a release Monday.
The payout from the Madoff Victim Fund will bring total government payouts in the case to more than $2.7 billion for almost 38,000 investors across the globe, DOJ said.
Victims of Madoff’s scheme lost around $20 billion in principal and some $40 billion in fake profit.