Wall Street loves leverage. But by pleading guilty today to 11 criminal charges, Bernard L. Madoff eliminates the main leverage that federal investigators might have used to get him to cooperate with their ongoing investigation, especially concerning who else may have been involved in the massive Ponzi scheme.
Madoff’s guilty plea means he will face no criminal trial, and he has little to fear from civil trials, since the Feds will seize all his assets anyway. He will not have to be a cooperating witness. He will not have to say a word about where he may have hidden funds. He won’t have to implicate his brother, wife, sons or anyone else—if they were part of the scheme. So far, none of his family members has been charged in connection with the fraud.
Keep in mind, as Madoff himself told the judge today, “...as the years went by I realized that my arrest and this day would inevitably come.” Translation? Madoff had plenty of time to craft a strategy for what he would do when he was exposed. Today we are seeing his strategy play out.