I don't find it very credible that Steven Chu spends his whole life studying physics (and extremely successful at it) so one day he could reward some political cronies of his boss. Comparing Chu to Madoff, really?
I think a reasonable case can be made that Madoff never set out to become a villain. He started out as a successful money manager. He was a philanthropist. He just fell into the habit of providing returns to customers using Ponzi methods.
I don't think that Steven Chu set out to become a villain. But think about it. Who lost more money that belonged to other people? Whose actions do more to undermine the ethical fabric of this country?
The fact that Chu is not being prosecuted under any criminal statutes is a point in his favor.