Bernard Madoff exits Manhattan federal court today. (AP Photo/ Louis Lanzano)
Accused swindler Bernard L. Madoff will plead guilty later this week, lawyers in New York said today, after federal prosecutors filed 11 felony charges against him that could put him in prison for the remainder of his life.
During court proceedings earlier today, a federal prosecutor and Madoff's own lawyer, Ira Sorkin, indicated the 70-year-old investment adviser will enter a plea to the charges this week, which include securities fraud and money laundering. He faces up to 150 years in prison for running what authorities believe is one of the largest Ponzi schemes in history. Prosecutors allege the theft of client funds went as far back as the 1980s.
"The charges reflect an extraordinary array of crimes committed by Bernard Madoff for over twenty years. While the alleged crimes are not novel, the size and scope of Mr. Madoff's fraud are unprecedented," Acting US Attorney Lev Dassin said in a statement.
A criminal information statement filed by his office today said that Madoff purported to have $64.8 billion invested on behalf of investors as recently as November, when in reality, his firm "held only a small fraction of that balance."
No others have been charged with crimes in the scheme to date. The US Attorney in New York said the investigation is continuing.
Lawyers outlined the plea arrangement for the 70-year-old former Nasdaq chairman that was set to unfold later this week after Madoff waived several potential conflicts of interest between Madoff and Sorkin. Sorkin's family had invested more than $900,000 with Madoff. After questioning Madoff, the judge ruled that Sorkin may continue representing Madoff.
In papers filed after Tuesday's proceeding, prosecutors outlined the case against Madoff, who quietly spoke in court, answering the questions of US District Judge Denny Chin.
Chin said he will not sentence Madoff for several months after Thursday's proceedings.
He told prosecutors to limit the number of victims who will be allowed to speak in court to those who want to argue either that Chin not accept the plea, or go against what Chin plans to decide as to whether Madoff should remain free on bail after Thursday's hearing.
Chin also said anyone addressing the court will be limited in time and must conduct themselves in a "respectful and dignified manner."
(By Globe staff and wire services)