With plenty of biting words, a federal judge released former KPMG accounting executive David Greenberg on $25 million bail, ordering him to live in Manhattan under electronic monitoring until his trial for tax fraud begins.

Greenberg is among the 17 indicted former KPMG partners and managers charged with tax evasion and conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service in connection with the firm's alleged sales of abusive tax shelters. The case, which prosecutors estimated may have cost the U.S. Treasury $2.5 billion, is the largest criminal tax case in U.S. history.

U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan warned Greenberg's family that they would be financially ruined if Greenberg attempted to flee the country. Kaplan also said that Greenberg's finances were in such disarray that it was impossible to figure out where his assets were and how much he was worth.

Called a flight risk by federal prosecutors, Greenberg was the only defendant to be arrested by authorities when the indictments were handed down in October. Greenberg has also been accused of falsifying documents to hide his involvement in questionable shelter deals, coaching a co-conspirator to lie to investigators, and misleading investigators about whether he had surrendered all his passports.

Meanwhile, federal prosecutors submitted a brief rejecting the claims brought by lawyers for all of the 19 defendants facing the tax fraud charges. The defendants, in nearly 1,000 pages of legal documents, had argued that the tax shelters had never been declared illegal or improper by any court, and were therefore legal. The prosecutors' brief requested that the argument be thrown out or denied.

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