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post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old 01-05-2009, 06:55 PM Thread Starter
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Slam The Door And Toss The Key

Prosecutors Want Madoff’s Bail Revoked

Published: January 5, 2009

Contending that Bernard L. Madoff sent at least a million dollars worth of jewelry as gifts to family members and friends last month, federal prosecutors asked a judge on Monday to revoke his bail and send him to jail.

Mr. Madoff, who has been free after posting bail of $10 million when he was charged last month with securities fraud, remained free after the hearing pending a ruling by the magistrate judge, Ronald L. Ellis of United States District Court in Manhattan.

Judge Ellis ordered each side to submit legal briefs on the matter by Wednesday.

United States Attorney Marc O. Litt asked for revocation of Mr. Madoff’s bail, arguing that the gifts violated conditions that barred him from disposing of any of his assets.

The newly aggressive stance by prosecutors appeared to represent a serious deterioration in relations between the government and Mr. Madoff, who is said to have confessed to a huge Ponzi scheme last month and had seemed to be cooperating with investigators trying to unravel the fraud. In an interview on Monday evening, a lawyer for Mr. Madoff backed away from earlier statements that Mr. Madoff was helping investigators.

While Mr. Madoff faced the potential loss of his freedom in New York, the Securities and Exchange Commission came under heavy criticism from lawmakers in Washington.

At a hearing Monday afternoon, members of a House subcommittee questioned why the agency had not uncovered Mr. Madoff’s fraud long before early December, when he is said to have confessed it to F.B.I. agents. The S.E.C.’s inspector general promised a full investigation.

At the court hearing in New York, Mr. Litt told Judge Ellis that Mr. Madoff and his wife, Ruth, had mailed packages of valuables in late December to his sons, his brother and friends. Since mid-December, Mr. Madoff has been under house arrest at his luxury apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, guarded by private security guards paid for by his wife.

By sending the packages, Mr. Madoff violated the terms of his bail agreement with the government, Mr. Litt said. He said that Mr. Madoff was a flight risk and asked that his bail be revoked immediately.

“The case against the defendant is strong and it continues to grow stronger as the government’s investigation continues,” Mr. Litt said. “Given the defendant’s age, the length of the likely sentence, the strength of the proof against the defendant, including his confessions, these facts present a clear risk of flight.”
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