Bernard Madoff’s younger brother pleaded guilty to criminal charges that he helped advance the multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme, but denied knowing about the epic, decades-long fraud.
With his guilty plea in Manhattan federal court on Friday, Peter Madoff is the first of Bernard Madoff’s family members to admit criminal wrongdoing at the investment advisory firm.
"I truly believed that my brother was a brilliant securities trader," Peter Madoff told U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain in a courtroom filled to capacity. "At no time did I suspect that my brother had stolen from anyone."
Peter Madoff, 66, had been chief compliance officer at Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC. He said Friday that he did not know the business was a sham until Bernard Madoff confessed to him in December 2008.
Dressed in a brown suit, Peter Madoff stood at the defense table and read for 15 minutes from typed notes, his voice breaking at times.
"I want to apologize to anyone who was harmed and to my family," Madoff said. He explained that he had always worshipped his brother, and was "shocked" when Bernard revealed that the firm, which had been the envy of Wall Street, had been a massive hoax all along.
Peter Madoff will be sentenced on October 4, and has agreed to accept a 10-year prison term. He was also ordered to forfeit a symbolic $143.1 billion and was released on a $5 million bond.
Bernard Madoff, 74, is serving a 150-year prison term and was ordered to forfeit $170.8 billion.
More to come?
About a dozen people have been charged in connection with Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in a statement suggested that prosecutors may not be finished.
"Peter Madoff enabled the largest fraud in human history," Bharara said. "He will now be jailed well into old age, and he will forfeit virtually every penny he has. We are not yet finished calling to account everyone responsible for the epic fraud of Bernard Madoff and the epic pain of his many victims."
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