Friday, March 6, 2009

Madoff Plea Deal May Be In The Works

According to MSNBC, prosecutors have filed a motion that indicates Bernard Madoff may be preparing to plead guilty to charges related to one of the largest frauds in history. The indication came in a brief filed with the court that stated Madoff is waiving indictment, a potential sign that a deal is in the works.

NBC's Pete Williams, citing an unnamed law enforcement official, said Madoff may plead guilty next week. The official said under the terms of the deal, Madoff will serve prison time and be required to help the government put together a full accounting of what happened.

The filing was the latest sign pointing toward a possible plea deal with Madoff, who has been confined to his Manhattan penthouse since his arrest in December. Madoff has never contested the allegations and recently surrendered millions of dollars in major assets, actions that typically precede plea deals.

Investigators have spent the last three months trying to untangle Madoff's complicated financial operation while attempting to return what is left of his assets to investors who lost billions. Madoff's cooperation could be key to explaining the mysteries and intricacies of his business, and also explain if others were involved in the fraud. Daniel J. Horwitz, a Madoff defense lawyer, would only say that "we've waived the right to indictment and the case will proceed by information."

Typically, a defendant is brought before a judge, waives indictment and enters a guilty plea the same day to a charging document known as an "information." It resembles an indictment but is brought by prosecutors rather than a grand jury.

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