Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Bernard Madoff: The Final Hours

Bernard Madoff could be facing his final hours of freedom. The disgraced money manager who is responsible for the multi-billion dollar ponzi scheme is apparently going to plead guilty today in a Manhattan District Court to 11 felony counts, including securities fraud & perjury. This could result in a 150 year jail sentence.

Wearing a bullet pro0f vest, Madoff appeared in court yesterday for the first time in two months. He conveniently waited for several hours in a conference room to avoid confronting angry investors while appearing before District Court Judge, Denny Chin, for what was to be considered a routine hearing.
Chin, will rule on the guilty plea Thursday and decide if Madoff should remain free on bail pending sentencing in a few months.

At least 25 Madoff investors have asked to speak Thursday under provisions allowing victims of crime to appear at a plea hearing. "There is no plea bargain here. Those victims who objected to a plea bargain no longer have a reason to object," Chin said.

This entire process is both fascinating and astounding.

Fascinating for the fact Madoff pulled off the largest securities fraud case in the history of the United States. Some will continue to argue he couldn't have done this alone. Time will tell if anyone else was involved and to what degree.

This case is also astounding for the simple fact Madoff remains under house arrest! Are you kidding me? How can someone accused (and now guilty) of stealing more than $50 billion dollars not be in jail? This could change tomorrow. But, there seems to be a double standard between blue & white collar criminals. I don't get it. The negative repercussions will be felt throughout the financial services industry for a long, long time. Regaining investor trust & confidence is no easy task.

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