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White-Collar Crime

Madoff Guilty Plea in $50B Claimed Fraud Case is Expected Soon, N.Y. Times Says

Posted Mar 6, 2009 1:48 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Updated: The accused architect of an alleged record-breaking $50 billion Ponzi scheme operated under the guise of a hedge fund is reportedly close to settling the federal criminal case against him.

Confirming earlier reports that a deal apparently is imminent, the New York Times reports, based on court filings tonight, that Bernard Madoff is expected to enter a guilty plea on Thursday. Terms of the plea agreement aren't indicated.

Yesterday, hours after federal prosecutors requested a special court hearing concerning an alleged conflict of interest involving Madoff's lead lawyer, the matter was adjourned without any new date being set. That fueled speculation that a plea deal could be in the works, as a March 13 deadline loomed for either filing an indictment or holding a preliminary hearing on the original federal criminal case filed on Dec. 11, reports Newsday.

And earlier today there were further signals that a Madoff plea may be in the works, reports the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.).

Madoff, 70, waived indictment, one of his lawyers says. Meanwhile, prosecutors filed a notice saying that they plan to file a new charging document in the case, the WSJ writes.

"It's a very good indication there's going to be a plea," former prosecutor Michael Bachner, who now practices as a white-collar criminal defense attorney, tells the newspaper.

A Bloomberg article provides additional details.

The latest developments in the case follow recent news that the alleged Ponzi scheme may have involved only $20 billion, and that Madoff's wife, Ruth, is seeking to keep perhaps $70 million or so that she has in claimed personal assets.

Although experts say it's unlikely Madoff acted alone, the federal criminal case, so far, has focused on him. Many individuals, both wealthy and working-class, reportedly lost their life savings in the claimed scam, and a number of non-profits also are said to have suffered heavy hits.

Related coverage:

New York Law Journal: "Federal Judge to Hear Conflict Claims in Madoff Case"

ABAJournal.com: "As Bernard Madoff Arrest Loomed, His Wife Withdrew $15.5M, Regulator Says"

Boston Herald (based on wire services): "William Galvin eyes money wired to Bernard Madoff’s wife"

Newsday: "Brits looking for possible Madoff money laundering"

ABC News: "Madoff Scam Could Cost Cancer Patient His Life"

ABAJournal.com: "Elie Wiesel Says He Lost Life Savings with Madoff, Suggests Punishment"

Last updated at 10:50 p.m. to include information from New York Times article.

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