Madoff To Stay Out of Jail For Now

<"">Bernard Madoff is going to be allowed to stay in his posh Manhattan while he awaits trial on charges of securities fraud.  A Federal judge rejected a prosecution request to revoke the alleged Ponzi-schemer’s $10 million bail today, but added more conditions to Madoff’s bail agreement.

Madoff has been under house arrest since his December 11 arrest for securities fraud.  The 70-year-old Madoff – once a chairman of the Nasdaq stock exchange – is the founder and primary owner of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC. The firm is primarily known for its business in market-making, or serving as the middleman between buyers and sellers of shares. However, Madoff also oversaw an investment-advisory business that managed money for high-net-worth individuals, hedge funds and other institutions.

According to the FBI complaint against Madoff, that business was largely a Ponzi scheme.  The FBI said Madoff  “deceived investors by operating a securities business in which he traded and lost investor money, and then paid certain investors purported returns on investment with the principal received from other, different investors, which resulted in losses of approximately billions of dollars.” Madoff reportedly told employees that his fraud could cost investors as much as $50 billion.

Last week, U.S. Prosecutor Marc Litt asked U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald Ellis in Manhattan to revoke Madoff’s $10 million bail after it was discovered that he or his wife mailed several packages of valuables to family and friends.  Litt said that this constituted a transfer of assets in violation of a court order.  Other court papers filed by the prosecution charged that  Madoff  had intended to give $200 million to $300 million in investor assets that remained to select family, friends and employees.  That amount included $173 million in checks he had personally signed.

Despite the prosecution’s plea, Judge Ellis did not revoke Madoff’s bail. In his decision, the Judge wrote that the government failed to show that  ” no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the safety of any other person and the community; or by a preponderance of the evidence, that there is no condition or combination of conditions that would reasonably assure the ‘presence of the defendant at trial if released.'”

However, additional restrictions were added to Madoff’s bail terms, including “restrictions of transfer of all property whatsoever, wherever located” belonging to Madoff.  Madoff’s wife must also comply with that restriction, the order said.

The judge also ordered Madoff to compile an inventory of all “valuable portable items” in his Manhattan apartment and give it to the government.  He will also be required to have a security company check the inventory every two weeks and inspect outgoing mail.

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