NEW YORK -- The brother of imprisoned financier Bernard Madoff was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in prison for crimes committed in the shadow of his notorious sibling by a judge who said she disbelieve claims he did not know about the epic fraud.
Peter Madoff, 67, agreed to serve the maximum sentence allowable to the charges of conspiracy and falsifying the books and records of an investment adviser that he pleaded guilty to in June.
U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain urged him to tell the truth even after he reports to prison on Feb. 6 about what he knows about the multi-decade fraud that cost thousands of investors their original $20 billion investment.
The judge said Peter Madoff was "frankly not believable" when he claimed at his plea he only learned of the fraud when his brother revealed it to him before surrendering to authorities.
Peter Madoff spoke only briefly before he was sentenced, saying: "I am deeply ashamed of my conduct and have tried to atone by pleading guilty and have agreed to forfeit all of my present and future assets."
He added: "I am profoundly sorry that my failures let many people down, including my loved ones."
The sentencing comes four years and a week after Bernard Madoff first revealed the fraud, which occurred over several decades as the former NASDAQ chairman built a reputation for delivering unparalleled investment results, even in bad times. The revelation came only days after the business sent out statements that made investors think their investments had grown to a total of more than $65 billion.
Peter Madoff said at his plea that he had no idea his brother was running a massive Ponzi scheme, paying off longtime investors at times with money from newer investors.
"My family was torn apart as a result of my brother's atrocious conduct," he said. "I was reviled by strangers as well as friends who assumed that I knew about the Ponzi scheme."
But he conceded that he followed his brother's instructions and helped him decide which favoured friends, clients and family members would receive the $300 million that remained in the company's accounts. The cheques were never sent.
-- The Associated Press