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Bernard Madoff

Madoff Rebuffs Plea Deal, Refuses to Admit to Conspiracy

March 11, 2009 07:13 PM
by Anne Szustek
Bernard Madoff rejected prosecutors’ demands to accept a conspiracy plea, which would have forced him to name anyone who helped him in his alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme.

Bernard Madoff’s Rejection of Conspiracy Plea Spares Details, Names

Alleged Ponzi scheme mastermind Bernard Madoff backed out of a plea deal with federal prosecutors because he would not admit to a conspiracy charge. He is expected to plead guilty to 11 other outstanding charges, which carry a combined sentence of up to 150 years. His refusal to admit to conspiracy means that the government will have to investigate the identities of Madoff’s alleged co-conspirators without his assistance.

“The information crafted by the government does not contain a conspiracy charge, and you can read what you like into that,” Madoff attorney Mauro Wolfe told Bloomberg on Wednesday in reference to a court document outlining Madoff’s pending charges. “The information speaks for itself.”

Madoff’s reticence “most likely will be quite unsatisfying for those who want to hear him explain what he did and whether he feels even the slightest remorse,” writes Wayne State law professor Peter J. Henning in The New York Times’ Deal Professor blog. “I expect that he will say the minimum necessary to plead guilty, perhaps simply mumbling ‘guilty as charged’ to the 11 counts and reiterating the government’s minimal allegations of misconduct.”
Madoff’s sons and brother Peter, who held positions in the firm, have not been charged in connection with the scheme. However, the assets of Madoff’s wife Ruth have come under the microscope. Mr. Madoff’s defense lawyer, Ira Sorkin, has argued that $70 million in assets held under Ruth Madoff’s name are separate from that of her husband and are unrelated to the alleged Ponzi scheme. Mrs. Madoff, previously represented by Sorkin, is now seeking her own legal counsel.

Background: The Madoff scandal

Bernie Madoff is facing 11 charges in connection with an alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme at his investment firm, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities. The charges include allegations of securities fraud, perjury, mail and wire fraud, theft from an employee retirement plan and money laundering.

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