Bernard Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 charges in connection with a gigantic Ponzi scheme that swindled his clients out of up to $65 billion.
Although his sentence has not yet been set, Madoff was immediately ordered to enter prison by Judge Denny Chin. “In light of Mr. Madoff’s age, he has the incentive to flee, he has the means to flee, and thus he presents the risk of flight,” said Chin.
The 70-year-old Madoff faces up to 150 years in jail when he is sentenced on charges including securities and wire fraud, money laundering, making false statements and perjury. Madoff apologized and admitted, “I never invested the funds in securities as promised.”
“I’m actually grateful for this opportunity to publicly speak about the crimes for which I am deeply sorry and shamed,” he told the court, which was packed with victims of his fraud. “I’m painfully aware that I have deeply hurt many, many people including clients, my family and friends,” he said, according to The Guardian.
Prosecutors are trying to determine the involvement of others in the scheme. Among the targets could be several accountants who worked with Madoff and the feeder funds that directed clients his way. The retired founder of Madoff’s three-person auditing firm, Friehling & Horowitz, is among those who have been questioned, although no one from the New City, N.Y., firm has been formally charged.
Another small accounting firm, Sosnik Bell, prepared year-end statements for many of Madoff’s clients, according to The New York Times. The Fort Lee, N.J.-based firm’s partners have themselves reportedly lost millions in the scheme, and his lawyer denied that the firm was under investigation.
Madoff and his family have also reportedly directed many clients to a midsized accounting firm, Konigsberg Wolf & Co., to prepare their tax returns. Konigsberg’s lawyer denied any wrongdoing and said that his client too has lost money in the scheme. Konigsberg has received a grand jury subpoena and is reportedly cooperating.
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