Madoff 'to plead guilty' to fraud
Former US financier accused of huge fraud could spend rest of his life in jail.
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2009 05:38 GMT

Madoff's lawyer says his client is 'expected' to plead guilty to 11 counts of fraud [Getty Images/AFP]

Bernard Madoff, the former US financier accused of orchestrating Wall Street's biggest-ever fraud, will plead guilty to 11 criminal charges that could place him in prison for the rest of his life, his lawyer has said.

Ira Sorkin, Madoff's defence attorney, told a US judge on Tuesday that there is a "fair expectation" his client will plead guilty to directing a $50bn fraud scheme when he appears for a court hearing on Thursday.

The former chairman of the Nasdaq stock exchange is accused of soliciting billions of dollars from pension funds, charities and other investors in a scheme that prosecutors say began in the 1980s.

Prosecutors had charged Madoff with one count of securities fraud following his arrest in December.

But US authorities have revealed 10 additional charges against him, including investment adviser fraud, false statements, mail fraud, perjury and three counts of money laundering, according to court documents filed on Tuesday.

Madoff, 70, has confessed to investigators that he ran the scheme - in which early investors are paid off with the money of newer clients - over many years with losses of $50bn.

No plea deal

"There is no plea agreement," Marc Litt, assistant US attorney, said at Madoff's hearing Tuesday before a US judge in New York.

"He must plead guilty to all 11 counts."

Madoff faces up to 150 years in prison if convicted.

The judge said he will not sentence Madoff on Thursday, and that the victims of the alleged fraud will be heard in court.

Madoff did not comment on the charges as he left the court in New York city on Tuesday.

He has been under house arrest in his $7 million Manhattan apartment as part of his $10 million bail, which has also required his assets to be frozen.

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