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Court Decides Madoff Can Avoid Jail -- For Now

A judge ruled moments ago that alleged $50 billion Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff can remain free on bail, living in his luxe Manhattan penthouse, and does not have to go to jail.

The ruling is a setback to federal prosecutors who want Madoff jailed, saying he is a flight risk.

Federal magistrate judge Roland L. Ellis imposed additional restrictions on Madoff, to wit:

-- Madoff must create an inventory of all the valuable items in his apartment.

-- The government must check the inventory list against the items in his apartment every two weeks.

-- The government can check Madoff's outgoing mail.

Here's the judge's complete order.

-- Frank Ahrens
The Ticker is Twittering!

By Frank Ahrens  |  January 12, 2009; 12:22 PM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Bernie Madoff  
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OUTRAGEOUS!! That slimebag needs to be locked up NOW! I am amazed there is not a lynch mob gathering on the street below. The Mafia would have taken him out weeks ago.

Posted by: isenberg888 | January 12, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

This is further proof that there is a double standard in the US.

If Madoff was some poor minority kid who stole money, he would not get bail and would not stay out on bail after trying to hide assets. He would be in jail right now.

Both Madoff and the SEC officials who looked the other way belong in prison.

But I'm not holding my breath. Prison is for "those people", not wealthy and connected financiers who live in $7 million penthouses.

The disparity between rich and poor has never been worse in this country. Someday the rich are going to pay for this with their lives.

Get a rope.

Posted by: Tom333 | January 12, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

One of the tiers of American justice at it's finest. Madoff has to create the inventory? Well, I guess we can trust him...

Posted by: bubbleman | January 12, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

House arrest for swindling $50 billion. This ruling is a disgrace. I won't invest a dime unless fairness returns.

Posted by: optimist_10 | January 12, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

This judge, and his decision, are a joke. Madoff is laughing himself silly. I wonder if he bilked Mafia family? I guess not, or he'd already be serving a sentence. Too bad.

Posted by: AWWNats | January 12, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

ya might want to start checking into that judge. what a tool

Posted by: torro67 | January 12, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Madoff-another candidate for an unexpected "heart attack"?

Posted by: Spectator | January 12, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

If I was charged with stealing $50 billion I would be denied bail and jailed! This is an outrage!

Posted by: eskieville | January 12, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Does he have to kill someone in cold blood in front of witnesses?

What about what he's (alleged to have) already done (concealing and transferring) assets? If any of that can be confirmed he should be put in the slammer

Posted by: GWGOLDB | January 12, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Unbelievable. If he was black and stole $100.00 from someone on the street, he would be locked up. He milked people, charities and countries out of BILLIONS and he gets to stay at home in his penthouse apartment. He's already cost the life of one person who committed suicide. He should be charged with murder.

Posted by: slam1 | January 12, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Whatever happen to innocent until proven guilty? I know this guy is a slimeball, but he does have rights.

People are so quick to judge based on one side of the story. No wonder this country is falling apart.

Posted by: mikeMM | January 12, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

tsk tsk tsk--
re: the application of justice:

"Some Animals are more equal than others"

George Orwell

Posted by: mastin | January 12, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

This bonehead is a risk to the community and a flight risk as ong as he has money funneled to him for a defense. If I was the AUSA, I would have seized the apartment and everything else, ASAP under the RICO Statutes. I heard there's room at a homeless shelter, just down the road.

I wonder where the money is coming from for his defense??? I wonder where the computer hard drives are??? Forget the FBI, SEC, FDIC, SIPC or any of the alphabet soup agencies. Let me at the computers and I'll dig it all out!!!!

Posted by: Computer_Forensics_Expert_Computer_Expert_Witness | January 12, 2009 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Let's see, this ass rips off investors for 50 billion dollars and destroys the lives and economics for lots and lots of people. He does not go to jail.

But if he raised one marijuana plant in a locked room to never be seen by any other human. An act that has nothing to do with any other person's life whatsoever. If he were caught for raising this one plant, he would be in jail for a long time.

Does this make any sense anywhere?????????

Posted by: sssharp | January 12, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

This is a prime example where money talks. Sending jewelry,worth how much, to his children, clearly tells me he is trying to hide his net worth from the courts. Another fraud. I guess the courts don't care if the people wronged by his original fraud receive proper compensation.

Posted by: doughboy96 | January 12, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Yesterday marked the 7th anniversary of the illegal detentions at Guantanamo, up to 800 men held for no DEMONSTRABLE reason other than their ethnic/religious affiliations. A publicity stunt on the part of the Bush administration to assuage the free-floating fears of the American public, but a flagrant sell-off of fundamental American values in the eyes of the rest of the world. Now Madoff--a self-confessed economic terrorist--remains free. Is it any wonder that so much of the rest of the world sees what we can't? It's OVER for us. I think even Obama is "too little too late."

Posted by: dtgroarke | January 12, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Read the judges order. The prosecution did a terrible job in arguing their case against Madoff. The judge told the prosecution they didn't have a leg to stand on. He also found it curious how poor some of their legal arguments were.

No doubt Madoff is a slime ball. No doubt he deserves to spend the rest of what's left of his life in prision. However, if we are a nation of laws the least the State can do is put forth a reasonable argument before a judge. If they can't do this they should be at least smart enough not to bring the motion.

I sincerely hope the prosecution does a better job at trial then they did in this hearing. If they don't Madoff will get away with stealing 50 billion.

Posted by: blund | January 12, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

A flight risk?? I don't think so, there is a small army of reporters camped outside his building tracking his every move. Did anyone watch CNBC this morning? They had a continuous live feed of Madoff's building in the lower right section of the screen. Even if Madoff wanted to flee, there's no way he could sneak by all that press.

Posted by: wolfcastle | January 12, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Rent this slime ball a one bedroom apartment in Harlem. Every day that he's in his luxury penthouse is more money being wasted rather than saved for his investors. Gas, electric, homeowner fees, concierge services taxes and on and on and on. Give him the bare minimum essentials instead of all the luxuries. Put this turd in the toilet where he belongs!

Posted by: DIERIGJ | January 12, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

proof that all men are not created equal. men with money and/or power are simply above the law.

Posted by: ephobe | January 12, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if Junior calls him Bernie Baby? Just another smooooooooooth criminal.

Posted by: whocares666 | January 12, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

As the Bush administration has demonstrated, there are two Americas: one for the rich and one for the pathetic rest of us. The judge is merely following the dictates of his class. Until we "lower" classes rise up and clean house, this sort of comic injustice will continue indefinitely.

Posted by: JC505 | January 12, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

This is extremely irresponsible of the Judge. He should be removed and placed in the cell next to madoff (yea made off With billions of stolen money). I hope authorities check into the possibility to see if this judge has been paid off by madoff. This just doesnt look right or smell right to me. If this kind of injustice is happening why have any justice at all. Madoff should have gone to jail on December 11th, 2008 awaiting trial like everyone else suspected of the magnitude of fraud.

Posted by: alphabet2 | January 12, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

the Mukasey clan is pulling its weight and earning its retainer....its stolen money retainer.

Madoff and associates surely spread enough hush money around to protect them all the way to Pardonville, be it Bush or Obama.

Posted by: forestbloggod | January 12, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

How is this possible?

Posted by: monk4hall | January 12, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

The Judge probably did the right thing (a typical decision, actually, in white collar crime cases) and Madoff might be the worse off for it in the end. He's had to sweat the decision for about a week (admittedly in very plush digs.) But, at least he had to think about that nasty cell. Now, he'll have longer to loll around in luxury; however, the day of reckoning will come and it will come even harder. Meanwhile, hopefully, Madoff will be more and more cooperative about what he did, how he did it, and where assets still remain. That's more important than a few early weeks in jail.

What the rest of us should rebel against is a plea deal that doesn't demand solid hard time for this probable arch swindler of all times. Does anyone wince at an eventual sentence so severe he'll unlikely ever see the outside again? Not me, folks.

Posted by: jayjay9 | January 12, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

I am not sure what the prosecution's legal arguments were, but I should think the fact (undisputed by Madoff) that he had mailed $1 million in valuables to family members while under house arrest would be sufficient to earn him a trip to Riker's. The guy is an out and out con man and to think that he will not keep testing what he can get away with is pure wishful thinking.

Posted by: jhpurdy | January 12, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Do you need anymore evidence that all justice in the US is a commodity, based on the buyers ability to pay?

Posted by: fluxgirl | January 12, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

"(4) Madoff employs, at his wife’s expense, a security firm acceptable to the Government,
to provide the following services to prevent harm or flight:
(a) the security firm provides round-the-clock monitoring at Madoff’s building, 24
hours per day, including video monitoring of Madoff’s apartment doors, and
communications devices and services permitting it to send a direct signal from an
observation post to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the event of the
appearance of harm or flight;
(b) the security firm will provide additional guards available on request if
necessary to prevent harm or flight;"

He is being allowed to run his own jail... in a penthouse. Disgusting.

Posted by: lostinthemiddle | January 12, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

This 17 year veteran/former stockbroker would like to point out that Maddoff has already committed additional crimes by attempting to further defraud investors by hiding his personal ill-gotten gains.


This is an OUTRAGE!

Posted by: onestring | January 12, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

I think the point is they need to find out how much money is actually missing and if any of the money can be recovered. It is probably a good idea to handle Madoff with kid gloves. Maybe he will be more forthcoming in the end.

Posted by: PJTramdack | January 12, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Roland L. Ellis. You should be removed. You are devoid of backbone, integrity, honor! You have no right sitting there in the bench pretending to represent the law of this country. I will remember this name.

Posted by: pelohoki | January 12, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

The best course for justice would be to free Madoff and let him wander wherever he pleases. Detention in a low security jail would merely transfer 100% of the cost of his board, room, and healthcare to the taxpayers. His trial may last the better part of his life expetancy, and a snoozing jury could well find him "innocent" by reason of "whoops--bad market timing" or merit clemency because a butler or Joe the Plumber testifies he gave big holiday tips. If convicted, any lengthy sentence to a comfy low security facility will afford him better benefits than most able elderly or nursing care clients get at their own expense.

Were Madoff let go, his existence might prove less comfy. Bless his soul, but "accidents" do happen and coroner reports on some tropic isles or alphine duchies are notoriously flexible about their findings.

Posted by: jkoch2 | January 12, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

This guy is a financial TERRORIST and SHOULD be TORTURED by Bush to obtain all of the details on where he is hiding all that money, because it's got to be somewhere. This is not suppositions. But most likely, corrupt justice will "negotiate" with him, and at the end he will end-up as a Professor of Economics in some prestigious business school. Mark this words.

Posted by: ElMugroso | January 12, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

And such a nice Jewish Boy who sent all thatmoney to Israel. How about house - in Gaza?

Posted by: fugeddabowdid | January 12, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Think about this my fellow american's he swindel's investor's out of billion's and the judge rules that prosecutor's did not make a strong enough case for Maddoff being incarserated, WHAT? The judge should have gone to jail after that ruling.

Posted by: dargregmag | January 12, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

This ruling is no big surprise. What a corrupt society this is! THE LAWYER SORKIN a former US govt official is also defending the Syrian terrorist AL Kassar for conspiring to sell weapons to terrorists that kill Americans as well as the self admitted swindler Madoff. And a Judge that lets embezzlor Madoff live in luxury instead of being jailed. It would appear to any casual observor that there is something wrong with our society!!!!

Posted by: royroy1 | January 12, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Madoff can get a government job in Social Security. They run the same scam except, well it's the government.

Posted by: ekim53 | January 12, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

I am truly shocked that this guy wasn't sent to the county jail to await his trial. Let's scale it down a bit. Let's suppose some kid from a poor part of town who has made his living stealing is arrested, and then makes bail. While awaiting trial, this kid tries to disperse fruit of his ill gotten gains. If the court discovered this what would you expect a judge to do? I would expect the judge to throw the kid back in jail.

From the way this umpire sees things, it is no different. This Madof guy lied, and swindled people out of millions. While awaiting trial, this guy tried to disperse his ill gotten gains, a violation of his probation agreement. To me, this guy should be remanded to the tank to await trial. It sounds like this guy is inventive and imaginative, and so therefore we should expect any and everything from him. Let's throw him in the county jail and let him see how some poor folks get to live.

Posted by: bdstauffer | January 12, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Made a goof. I meant to say bail terms rather than parole terms. Still, this Madof guy should be thrown in the Klink for trying to make off with his ill gotten gains. It is truly shocking.

Posted by: bdstauffer | January 12, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

If Madoff swindled any Mafioso, he wouldn't be already in prison...he would be already DEAD.

Since our judicial system no longer works, maybe we should pass the hat.

I think we could scrape up enough money to put out a HIT on Madoff.

Crooks like him deserve a bullet in the head.

Posted by: Tom333 | January 12, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Republicans dont go to jail, they go to heaven because they are above the law and any semblance of morals. This guy is the hero of Hannity and Limbaugh et al. BTW, did any of you notice the guy who fixed the elections for Bush got a request for his presence under oath and he died very quickly there after. Just another repeat of the way republicans pay off those who make sure they get selected. We ought to continus to run them out of town and don't stop till they cross the border. Mexico is not nearly as hospitible to illegals as the republicans have been but they dont have jobs they are to good to do, they have our jobs courtesy of unrestrained "capitolism". I know you just want to be a 250 million dollar a year pencil pusher CEO dont you.

Posted by: anOPINIONATEDsob | January 12, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

The Golden Rule: He who has the gold, makes the rules.

Posted by: dldbug | January 12, 2009 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Can we compare the damage that was done to America by the terrorists who flew planes into buildings and the economic crisis that has been inflicted on us by America's captains of finance? No doubt, the first is clearly more egregious because it involved murdering innocent people. But we know that these same terrorists are cheering our fiscal ruin that America's own have wrought. Surely the fraud, swindles and other deceptions from men wearing suits deserves serious punishment. Don't tell me about presumption of innocence. We incarcerate larceny suspects for stealing far less as a matter of course. This judge's decision is an insult to the very premise of blind justice.

Posted by: dldbug | January 12, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Think Mossad.

Posted by: whocares666 | January 12, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

We railroad the poor and middle class while we coddle the wealthy. Madoff is proof that it's not about how much justice is afforded you but rather it's about how much justice you can afford.

Posted by: bfjackjernigan | January 12, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: usafirst1 | January 12, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

read henry ford sr's book
"the international jew-the
world's foremost problem"

Posted by: usafirst1 | January 12, 2009 8:00 PM | Report abuse

This Judge should be impeached, it is obvious Madoff has bribed him with hundreds of Millions of dollars.

Posted by: lmnovak13 | January 12, 2009 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Republicans dont go to jail, they go to heaven because they are above the law and any semblance of morals
Posted by: anOPINIONATEDsob | January 12, 2009 6:24 PM
Hey dufus, Madoff is a big time Democrat and Democrat supporter

Posted by: ekim53 | January 12, 2009 8:21 PM | Report abuse

That judge must have made a few buck from this guy no doubt. Rename him Mike Vick, the dog guys, and see how quick the Country would be demanding his hide and his rear would be in jail just for his own protection.

Posted by: floridaihamp | January 12, 2009 8:33 PM | Report abuse

This situation is just simply beyond belief.

Posted by: dcc1968 | January 12, 2009 8:39 PM | Report abuse

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