Madoff Scheduled To Plead Guilty

Bernard L. Madoff, the alleged orchestrator of a $50-billion Ponzi scheme, is scheduled to plead guilty to 11 felony charges Thursday.

Madoff is the accused mastermind behind a giant Ponzi scheme that ensnared retirement funds and institutional investors, among other victims (see “401(k) Plan Invested with Madoff and “Minneapolis Profit-Sharing Plan Also Victim of Ponzi Scheme).

A Bloomberg news report said Madoff attorney Ira Sorkin announced during a Tuesday federal court hearing in New York Madoff’s intention to enter the plea to a variety of charges, including theft from an employee benefit plan. Madoff, free on $10 million bail, is likely to spend the rest of his life in prison after the pleas, according to the report.

The March 12 hearing will be before U.S. District Judge Denny Chin.

Thousands of investors with Madoff’s New York-based firm, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, (BLMIS) have reported about $43 billion in losses, according to Bloomberg’s tally of victims, the news report said. Federal authorities charged that in connection with the Ponzi scheme, Madoff accepted billions of dollars of investor money—from individual investors, charitable organizations, trusts, pension funds, and hedge funds, among others.

A news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York said that as of November 30, BLMIS had approximately 4,800 client accounts and that on December 1, it issued account statements for the previous month reporting those client accounts held a total balance of approximately $64.8 billion.

“In fact,” authorities charged in the announcement, “BLMIS held only a small fraction of that balance on behalf of its clients.’

In addition to the benefit plan theft allegation, charges against the 70-year-old Madoff include: securities fraud; 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 (SEC).

The U.S. Attorney’s news release said that if found guilty of all counts, Madoff faces a maximum 150 years in prison and is subject to mandatory restitution and faces fines up to twice money made from commission of the offense.

Authorities said Madoff is also subject to forfeiture of the proceeds of the crimes charges as well as all property involved in the money laundering offenses and all property traceable to such property.

The court document is available here