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Madoff to judge: ‘Guilty’ *

by Brad A. Greenberg

March 12, 2009 | 11:33 am

Bernard Madoff had his day in court this morning, and he plead guilty to all—count ‘em, all—charges. The NYT reports:

Standing before Judge Denny Chin in United States District Court in Manhattan, Mr. Madoff was asked, “How do you now plead to the information, guilty or not guilty?”

“Guilty,” he responded.

The hearing on Thursday marks the first time since he was arrested by federal agents on Dec. 11 that Mr. Madoff has spoken publicly about how he ran what was perhaps the largest fraud in Wall Street history, a global scheme that ensnared hedge funds, nonprofit groups and celebrities, and devastated the life savings of thousands of people.

Dressed in a gray suit, Mr. Madoff, 70, stood up in a courtroom packed with journalists, lawyers and some of his victims and pleaded guilty to 11 counts of fraud, money laundering, perjury and theft — charges whose maximum sentences total 150 years. Mr. Madoff then answered questions about how he sustained a 20-year fraud whose collapse erased as much as $65 billion that his customers thought they had in their accounts.

His immediate fate remained in the balance. The judge is expected to rule later Thursday on whether Mr. Madoff will remain free on bail and return to his apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, or whether he will be immediately jailed as he awaits sentencing.

* Update: A newer version of this story reports that the judge has revoked Madoff’s freedom on bail and ordered that he begin his yet-undetermined sentenced immediately.

“He has incentive to flee, he has the means to flee, and thus he presents the risk of flight,” Judge Chin said. “Bail is revoked.”

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The ripple effect of the Madoff deception.

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