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Appeals Panel Says No on Madoff Bail

Mar 20, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP

Convicted Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff will have to await his June sentencing in jail.  According to Bloomberg.com, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in New York rejected Madoff's request to have his $10 million bail reinstated.

Madoff has been jailed at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan since pleading guilty to 11 felony counts on March 12.  At that time, the former investment advisor publicly admitted he had run a Ponzi scheme, and had never invested any of his clients' money.

Judge Denny Chin revoked Madoff bail immediately after accepting his guilty plea, saying that Madoff had means to flee and an incentive to do so because of his age. Applause broke out in the Manhattan courtroom after the judge’s announcement. Until March 12, Madoff had been living in his luxurious Manhattan penthouse apartment under house arrest, an arrangement that did not sit well with defrauded investors.

Madoff's lawyers immediately appealed the bail revocation.  It's not unusual for white collar criminals to remain free on bail until sentencing.

But the three judge panel agreed with Judge Chin's reasoning.  “The defendant’s age and his exposure to imprisonment are undisputed, and the court did not err in inferring an incentive to flee from these facts,” they wrote in their ruling. “The district court’s finding that the defendant has the means -- and therefore the ability -- to flee was not clear error.”

While Madoff's lawyers said they were disappointed with the appeal's court's decision, they did not indicate if they would continue with his appeals.  According to Reuter's, Madoff  could potentially seek a rehearing before the full appeals court, but such a bid is considered a long-shot.

Madoff now faces up to 150 years in prison.  In addition to a long jail term, U.S. prosecutors are also seeking as much as $170 billion in forfeited assets from Madoff. According to the Los Angeles Times, that amount includes all of the money that moved through the Madoff accounts since the early 1980s, when the government says the investor fraud began.

Madoff's sentencing is scheduled for June 16.


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