So if he had it reduced to 30 years, he could get out at age 101... Madoff won't appeal 150-year prison sentence By Kevin McCoy, USA TODAY Bernard Madoff won't appeal his 150-year prison sentence for running a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme that victimized investors worldwide, his attorney said Thursday. Lead defense counsel Ira Lee Sorkin declined to elaborate on the decision, which likely means the 71-year-old disgraced financier will die behind bars. "Ultimately, the client always makes the decision," said Sorkin, adding that the resolution was reached after "a lot of thought." Federal prosecutors declined to comment. Madoff remained in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Lower Manhattan Thursday, pending transfer to the prison where he will serve his sentence, said Linda Thomas, a U.S. Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman. Sorkin initially had called the sentence imposed June 29 by U.S. District Judge Denny Chin "absurd." Sorkin, who had argued a 12-year term would be appropriate, also had questioned whether the punishment met federal sentencing guidelines. In pronouncing the sentence, Chin cited the "extraordinarily evil" nature of the decades-long scam in which Madoff exacted "a staggering human toll." The international hunt for assets to help pay victims "has unearthed a labyrinth of interrelated international funds, institutions and entities of almost unparalleled complexity" and breadth, according to a report filed Thursday by Irving Picard, the trustee appointed to liquidate Madoff's business. Picard wrote that he has recovered about $1.09 billion so far and has filed court actions seeking the return of $13.7 billion more. At least 15,400 Madoff client claims were filed by a July 2 deadline, and nearly $3 billion sought by the claims has been allowed, the report said. Citing the deterrent effect of a long prison term, Chin said at the sentencing, "The symbolism is important here because the strongest possible message must be sent to those who would engage in similar conduct â¦ that they will be punished to the fullest extent of the law." Victims who attended Madoff's sentencing agreed, stifling sobs and wiping away tears as they labeled him a monster. Several federal-sentencing experts said in USA TODAY interviews last week that Madoff had potential legal grounds to appeal the punishment by arguing it was disproportionate to shorter terms in other major white-collar-crime cases. But they predicted that an appeals court would be unlikely to overturn Chin's decision.