Bernie Madoff’s victims can weigh in on whether he should receive ‘compassionate release’ from prison

Bernie Madoff in 2009

Bernie Madoff arrives at Manhattan federal court, March 12, 2009. (Stephen Chernin/Getty Images)

(JTA) — Bernie Madoff’s victims can weigh in on whether or not the Ponzi schemer should be released early from prison.

Madoff’s attorney in a request last week to a federal court asked for a “compassionate release” from federal prison for his 81-year-old client. The filing said that Madoff, who needs a wheelchair and has multiple medical problems, has been told he has less than 18 months to live.

Days later, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan announced that those who lost money in Madoff’s $19 billion scheme have until the end of February to submit emails to Judge Denny Chin of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals through the prosecutor’s office, The Associated Press reported.

Madoff is serving a 150-year sentence in a North Carolina federal prison for his scheme, which began in the early 1970s and lasted until his arrest in 2008. He pleaded guilty in 2009 to 11 felony charges related to money laundering, perjury and falsifying financial documents.

Many prominent Jewish nonprofits suffered major losses in the fraud.

Madoff requested compassionate release in September from the warden of the federal prison, NBC News reported. According to AP, the Bureau of Prisons denied a December request by Madoff for release. The denial said an early release would “minimize the severity of his offense.”