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The Madoff Roundup

Today's legal news was dominated by Bernie Madoff's entry of a guilty plea to eleven charges -- including securities fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering and making a false filing to the SEC -- all tied to his alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme. You can find comprehensive coverage of Madoff's downfall on's Madoff Watch. Below, we answer some of the questions surrounding today's hearing:

1. Will he or won't he go directly to jail? Many wondered whether Judge Chin would revoke Madoff's bail now that he's pleaded guilty. As Brian Baxter of The Am Law Daily reports, Madoff was handcuffed and taken to jail immediately following the plea agreement. The bail revocation came as no surprise to MacGregor Scott, a former U.S. Attorney General interviewed over at The WSJ Law Blog. Scott explains that once a federal defendant is convicted, the burden as to whether he no longer poses a flight risk or danger to the community shifts to him. And where a defendant like Madoff is convicted of massive fraud and still has access to large sums of money, there's a significant risk of flight that's hard to overcome. 

2. What did Madoff tell the court? The WSJ Law Blog has a copy of Madoff's plea allocution. Essentially, Madoff confessed that he ran a Ponzi scheme that he never intended to go on as long as it did. But as time passed, Madoff found it "difficult and ultimately impossible" to extricate himself from the scheme. Madoff also explained the details of how he carried out his scheme. 

3. Where will Madoff serve his time? Jeff Chabrowe of the Blanch Law Firm predicts that Madoff will wind up at a medium security prison, most likely the Federal Correction Institute in Otisville, New York, according to the New York Times Deal Book. The facility is one of the few federal prisons in the country that has a Jewish chaplain and a kosher kitchen, though reportedly the latter is not a concern for Madoff.

4. How much time will Madoff serve? Madoff faces a maximum of 150 years in prison, says The Am Law Daily. But sentencing won't take place until June 16.

5. What's the reaction of Madoff's victims? The Am Law Daily links to this New York Times story that includes a really sad interview with Philips Nizer litigator Helen Chaitman. In her 60s, Chaitman had hoped to retire in 10 years. Now, having lost her savings with Madoff, she predicts that she'll be retiring at 95 (of course, that's assuming that she's able to keep her job amidst widespread law firm layoffs). Chaitman brought letters from 30 clients who also lost money with Madoff. Not surprisingly, Chaitman has little sympathy for Madoff.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on March 12, 2009 at 04:44 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)


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