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Former investment manager Bernard Madoff is expected to plead guilty to charges related to an international Ponzi scheme that allegedly bilked investors worldwide out of as much as $50 billion, his attorney said Tuesday.
Madoff, 70, is facing 11 counts related to the fraud, including securities fraud, investment adviser fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, making false statements, perjury, making false filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and theft from an employee benefit plan, according to the U.S. attorney's office in New York.
The financier allegedly perpetrated a scheme to defraud clients of billions of dollars from at least the 1980s until his arrest on Dec. 11. Prosecutors said he bilked investors out of as much as $50 billion in a Ponzi scheme in which old investors were paid off with the money of new investors.
The government alleges that Madoff promised some clients annual returns of up to 46 percent per year.
Madoff could be sentenced to 150 years in prison, the U.S. attorney's office said. At least 25 victims of Madoff's schemes are expected to speak at Thursday's hearing, during which Madoff is expected to enter a formal plea to the charges.
U.S. District Judge Denny Chin also ruled that Madoff may keep his lead defense attorney, Ira Lee Sorkin, despite conflict-of-interest claims by prosecutors. The judge asked Madoff, who was under oath, if he was satisfied with the performance of the lead defense attorney in the fraud case against him.
"I am," Madoff answered.
Prosecutors said Sorkin's parents invested about $900,000 with Madoff. After they died, they left the investment in a trust for Sorkin's two sons. Sorkin has told the government that he is a trustee of the sons' trust accounts but has never had a beneficial interest in the money, according to court documents.
In addition, Sorkin represented two accountants linked to Madoff in a 1992 case brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Sorkin also invested almost $20,000 with Madoff, but that investment was liquidated more than 10 years ago, prosecutors said. (NPR)
This program aired on March 10, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.
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