Madoff to Plead in 11-Count Case, Faces Likely Life Sentence
Posted Mar 10, 2009 3:31 PM CDT
By Martha Neil
The luxe house-arrest life is apparently about to end for Bernard Madoff.
Confirming earlier news that a guilty plea is expected, Madoff's lawyer said in a Manhattan court hearing today that his client will plead guilty in an 11-count federal criminal case concerning his alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme, according to the Associated Press. It includes counts of perjury, money laundering and securities, mail and wire fraud.
Asked directly by U.S. District Judge Denny Chin if Madoff will plead on Thursday, his lawyer, Ira Lee Sorkin, responded "That's a reasonable expectation," reports the Wall Street Journal.
However, prosecutors say there is no plea deal, notes MarketWatch. If convicted, Madoff faces up to 150 years in prison.
Based on what is now known about Madoff's alleged Ponzi scheme, federal sentencing guidelines call for a life sentence, assistant U.S. Attorney Marc Litt said in court today.
He says Madoff has been charged with securities fraud, investment adviser fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, making false statements, perjury, false filing with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission and theft from an employee benefit plan, the WSJ writes.
Chin said today there will be two issues at Madoff's scheduled plea on March 12. They are, writes Bloomberg, "whether the judge will accept a guilty plea and whether Madoff will be sent to prison that day."
A letter filed in connection with the new criminal complaint in the case says the government intends to seek forfeiture of more than $170 billion.
According to earlier news coverage discussed in previous ABAJournal.com posts, it appears unlikely that the government is going to be able to recover anything approaching that amount. At last report, the only major assets associated with Madoff are in his wife's hands; she is seeking to protect some $70 million in claimed personal assets.
And in a responding letter filing, attorney Daniel Horowitz, who represents Madoff, contends that the $170 billion is "is grossly overstated—and misleading—even for a case of this magnitude," reports the DealBook blog of the New York Times.
According to case law, the amount subject to forfeiture should be calculated based on Madoff's net profits, not his gross receipts, Horowitz writes.
After being arrested in December and charged with a single count of securities fraud, Madoff was released on a $10 million personal recognizance bond. As a bond condition, however, he is on 24-hour detention at his home on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
DealBook: "One Madoff Victim Speaks"
USA Today: "Madoff guilty plea expected; trustee's found only $1B so far"
Reuters: "Motive in Madoff case murky as expected plea nears"
ABAJournal.com: "Madoff Guilty Plea in $50B Claimed Fraud Case is Expected Soon, N.Y. Times Says"