Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Madoff to Plead Guilty to Eleven Charges in Ponzi Scheme

Bloomberg has gathered some of the details regarding the plea agreement Madoff will enter on Thursday.  According to the reports, Madoff will plead guilty to eleven criminal charges related to a fraud that prosecutors state began in the 1980s. 

By last November, Madoff told 4,800 investors their accounts held $64.8 billion, according to court papers filed in Manhattan federal court. Prosecutors will seek forfeiture from Madoff of as much as $170 billion. Madoff, free on $10 million bail, faces 150 years in prison.

“There is no plea agreement,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Marc Litt said at hearing today before U.S. District Judge Denny Chin.

Madoff, originally charged with a sole count of securities fraud, will plead guilty to that charge and an additional 10 counts filed today in a so-called criminal information, defense attorney Ira Sorkin said. The new charges are investment adviser fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, false statements, perjury, false filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and theft from an employee benefit plan.

Sorkin disclosed Madoff’s plans at a hearing where Madoff waived his attorney’s possible conflicts of interest in the case. The lawyer said he disagreed with the amount of loss alleged by the government, arguing that some victims received more in returns than they invested with Madoff.

At the hearing, Madoff gave brief answers to more than 50 questions posed by the judge.

“We have been unable to review a vast amount of documents, reflecting money going in and going on,” Sorkin said in court. “It’s difficult at this point to identify real victims.”

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