Alleged $50 billion fraudster Bernard Madoff will remain free on bail pending his trial, a federal judge in Manhattan ruled Mon., Jan. 12.
Federal prosecutors had sought to have Madoff's bail revoked, arguing that Madoff's recent transfer of valuables to family and friends justified a change in his bail conditions. However, U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald L. Ellis ruled that the government had failed to prove that Madoff's actions indicate either a serious flight risk or a serious risk of obstruction of justice.
Ellis did impose several additional restrictions to Madoff's release on bail, including ordering him to "compile an inventory of all valuable portable items in his Manhattan home." The government or a security firm approved by the government will check the inventory once every two weeks.
In late December, Madoff and his wife mailed packages containing items that prosecutors contend were worth more than $1 million to family and friends. That violated a court injunction, according to prosecutors. Madoff contends that the items were holiday gifts and sentimental heirlooms.
Madoff was arrested on Dec. 11 and charged with running a Ponzi scheme that could have cost investors as much as $50 billion. He was released on $10 million bail secured only by the signatures of him and his wife. After failing to get required co-signers of his bond, he was ordered held in home detention with electronic monitoring.
Mintz is news editor for BusinessWeek.com in New York.