Wall Street tycoon Bernard Madoff, whom one client says “made off with the money” by allegedly bilking investors of $50 billion, now has new conditions for his bail terms.
Now under house arrest, Madoff returned home amid a crush of cameras jostling for position after his bail was modified. His wife and his brother co-signed his $10 million bond, but because he could not get two additional co-signees, a judge set additional terms for his bond.
Madoff, wearing a baseball cap and a black jacket, said nothing to reporters as he walked out of the building and drove away in an SUV.
The 70-year-old former NASDAQ chairman now has a curfew from 7 p.m. to 9 a.m. He must wear an ankle-monitoring bracelet. He and his wife must surrender their passports and sign over their three homes – one on the Upper East Side, one in the Hamptons, and one in Palm Beach – to cover the $10 million bond.
His apartment on the Upper East Side is worth $7 million alone.
Madoff, smiling slightly, was surrounded by about two dozen photographers who jostled each other for a good position as he walked along the sidewalk.
Madoff’s investment empire, conducted out of a Third Avenue building, was to have been monitored by the Securities and Exchange Commission, but it failed to do so.
SEC Chairman Christopher Cox admitted that regulators had received allegations, but failed to pursue them.
“Credible allegations about Mr. Madoff had been made, over nearly a decade, and yet never referred to the commission for action,” said Cox.
Stuart Meissner, a former prosecutor who is now a securities lawyer, says the SEC was alerted several years ago from someone within Madoff’s firm.
“It’s clear the SEC dropped the ball,” he said. “Having a whistleblower on the inside is not typical. They should have taken it much more seriously. They did not.”
Officials say Madoff kept multiple sets of books for more than a decade. Madoff’s accountant, David Friehling, who was supposed to exercise due diligence, had records seized from his Rockland County office.
It was a house of cards that prosecutors are calling the biggest Ponzi scheme in the history of the U.S.
Among the investigators who had questioned Madoff in the past – one was a lawyer who later married Madoff’s niece. That woman’s father is Madoff’s brother and was also the firm’s Chief Compliance Officer.