December 12th, 2008

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Ex-Nasdaq chair arrested on fraud charge in NYC

By LARRY NEUMEISTER – 2 hours ago

NEW YORK (AP) — A former Nasdaq stock market chairman was arrested on a securities fraud charge Thursday, accused of running a fraudulent investment business that lost at least $50 billion before he confessed to senior employees it was a "giant Ponzi scheme," authorities said.

Bernard L. Madoff, his silver hair reflecting the lights of a federal courtroom, was released on $10 million bail secured by his signature and that of his wife. He declined to comment as he walked out of U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

Madoff, 70, the founder of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, maintained a separate and secretive investment-advising business that served between 11 and 25 clients and had a total of about $17.1 billion in assets under management, prosecutors said.

Late Thursday, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced a civil securities fraud charge against Madoff and said it was seeking emergency relief for investors, including an asset freeze and the appointment of a receiver for the firm.

Andrew M. Calamari, associate director of enforcement in the SEC's New York office, said the SEC was alleging "a stunning fraud that appears to be of epic proportions."

A criminal complaint signed by FBI Agent Theodore Cacioppi said Madoff told at least three senior employees at his Manhattan apartment Wednesday that the investment adviser business was a fraud and had been insolvent for years, losing at least $50 billion.

Madoff told the employees he was "finished," that he had "absolutely nothing," that "it's all just one big lie" and it was "basically, a giant Ponzi scheme," according to the complaint filed in court.
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gA_cNr1uDE47pySwMmPvCpqCHH3gD950UBRO3