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Posts Tagged ‘Bernie Madoff’

Prosecutors target assets of Madoff’s wife

Federal prosecutors in New York and the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are preparing to file a legal action against Ruth Madoff, wife of jailed fraudster Bernie, amid fears that she will try to flee the United States or move her $70m fortune beyond their reach.

Department of Justice sources told the Observer that prosecutors were “working around the clock” to build a criminal complaint against Mrs Madoff in an effort to ask a judge to freeze her bank accounts, which they believe are filled with the proceeds of her husband’s crimes.

The SEC, America’s top financial regulator, is understood to be liaising with the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York to help prepare the asset freezing order.

“What will happen,” one SEC source said, “is that the US attorneys will be in court in the next week or so to tell a judge that they believe Mrs Madoff’s assets are derived from ill-gotten gains and that they should be frozen for a certain period of time while the investigation is ongoing.”

The judge will then decide whether there is sufficient reason to believe Mrs Madoff’s assets were the proceeds of her husband’s $64bn Ponzi scheme.

After Madoff confessed his crimes to the FBI on 11 December, the Department of Justice moved quickly to file a criminal complaint against him while the SEC issued an order to freeze his assets. SEC sources indicated that Mrs Madoff would soon experience something similar.

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A ‘sorry and ashamed’ Bernard Madoff pleads guilty

AP/Yahoo

By LARRY NEUMEISTER and TOM HAYS, Associated Press Writers

1 min ago

NEW YORK – Bernard Madoff pleaded guilty Thursday to charges that he carried out an epic fraud that robbed investors around the world of billions of dollars, admitting he began operating a giant Ponzi scheme in the early 1990s in response to a recession.

“I am actually grateful for this opportunity to publicly comment about my crimes, for which I am deeply sorry and ashamed,” he told U.S. District Judge Denny Chin.

He said that he started the fraud but that he believed it would be short and he could extricate himself.

“As the years went by, I realized my risk, and this day would inevitably come,” he said in a steady voice. “I cannot adequately express how sorry I am for my crimes.”

The fraud turned a revered money man into an overnight global disgrace whose name became synonymous with the current economic meltdown.

Madoff described his crimes after he entered a guilty plea to all 11 counts he was charged with, including fraud, perjury, theft from an employee benefit plan, and two counts of international money laundering.

Prosecutors say the disgraced financier, who has spent three months under house arrest in his $7 million in Manhattan penthouse, could face a maximum sentence of 150 years in prison at sentencing.

The plea came three months after the FBI claimed Madoff admitted to his sons that his once-revered investment fund was all a big lie — a Ponzi scheme that was in the billions of dollars. Since his arrest in December, the scandal has turned the 70-year-old former Nasdaq chairman into a pariah who has worn a bulletproof vest to court.

The scheme evaporated life fortunes, wiped out charities and apparently pushed at least two investors to commit suicide. Victims big and small were swindled by Madoff, from elderly Florida retirees to actors Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel.

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Op-Ed Columnist

Eight Years of Madoffs

Published: January 10, 2009

THREE days after the world learned that $50 billion may have disappeared in Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, The Times led its front page of Dec. 14 with the revelation of another $50 billion rip-off. This time the vanished loot belonged to American taxpayers. That was our collective contribution to the $117 billion spent (as of mid-2008 ) on Iraq reconstruction — a sinkhole of corruption, cronyism, incompetence and outright theft that epitomized Bush management at home and abroad.

The source for this news was a near-final draft of an as-yet-unpublished 513-page federal history of this nation-building fiasco. The document was assembled by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction — led by a Bush appointee, no less. It pinpoints, among other transgressions, a governmental Ponzi scheme concocted to bamboozle Americans into believing they were accruing steady dividends on their investment in a “new” Iraq.

The report quotes no less an authority than Colin Powell on how the scam worked. Back in 2003, Powell said, the Defense Department just “kept inventing numbers of Iraqi security forces — the number would jump 20,000 a week! ‘We now have 80,000, we now have 100,000, we now have 120,000.’ ” Those of us who questioned these astonishing numbers were dismissed as fools, much like those who begged in vain to get the Securities and Exchange Commission to challenge Madoff’s math.

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Madoff’s Ponzi Scheme Could Cost IRS $17 Billion In Lost Tax Revenue

RACHEL BECK | December 18, 2008 08:09 PM EST | AP

NEW YORK — Even Uncle Sam may get burned by Bernard Madoff.

Investors who lost their fortunes in Madoff’s alleged Ponzi scheme will end up paying far less in taxes and may even be eligible for refunds, according to accounting experts.

By some estimates, the Internal Revenue Service could be out as much as $17 billion in lost tax revenue.

“This is one more thing federal, state and local officials will have to deal with,” said John Berrie, a tax partner at the law firm Bryan Cave in New York City. “It’s another heavy box on their back.”

In addition, investors may be counting on a federally mandated insurance fund to bail them out, but that program lacks the money to pay for all the claims that are likely to come.

The timing couldn’t be worse. Unemployment has surged, meaning fewer workers are paying payroll taxes. And housing prices have dropped, reducing property taxes.

The recession so far has cost the federal government $200 billion in tax revenues for the 12 months that ended in November, according to estimates by Moody’s Economy.com.

The Madoff case, which reportedly involves $50 billion, adds another layer to the fiscal crisis gripping the nation.

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