Madoff brother pleads guilty and accepts a 10-year term in prison
Peter Madoff, brother of shamed US financier Bernard Madoff, pleaded guilty yesterday to helping cook the books of the world’s biggest ever Ponzi scheme and accepted a 10-year prison term.
“I apologise to the people I hurt and to my family,” Mr Madoff, 66, told a packed Manhattan courtroom after confessing to tax fraud and falsifying documents on behalf of his brother, who is already behind bars.
Mr Madoff, wearing a dark grey suit and glasses as he sat between his lawyers, pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and falsifying investment records.
“Peter Madoff enabled the largest fraud in human history.
“He will now be jailed well into old age, and he will forfeit virtually every penny he has,” said prosecutor Preet Bharara.
Mr Madoff, who was arrested earlier at his lawyer’s Manhattan office, spoke clearly during his statement, but broke down when he apologised towards the end and said he was initially shocked and horrified by his brother’s fraud.
Mr Madoff said he was taking anti-anxiety drugs and consulting doctors because of stress tied to the collapse of his brother’s huge fraud, though judge Laura Taylor Swain considered him “fully competent to plead guilty.”
Mr Madoff’s bail was set at $5 million in securities and $1 million in cash. Restrictions were placed on his travel and he was required to surrender his passport. A formal sentencing hearing was set for October 4.
Prosecutors say he has agreed to forfeit $143.1 billion, a nominal sum representing the fraud that means all his assets will be seized.
Bernard Madoff, a charismatic mogul and once chairman of the Nasdaq stock exchange, is serving a 150-year sentence at a North Carolina jail where he earns $170 a month for prison work.
He took in some $65 billion from thousands of clients over decades, building a reputation as a shrewd investment manager by paying out fake “profits” to some investors by plundering the new cash from others. Mr Madoff counted charities, major banks, Hollywood moguls and savvy financial players among those who invested in his massive Ponzi investment scheme.
But his pyramid fraud collapsed in 2008, wiping out numerous family fortunes. He was arrested in December that year and pleaded guilty in 2009.