WASHINGTON (JTA) — Bernard Madoff is ready to plead guilty to fraud charges.
Lawyers for the financier told a federal court in New York on Tuesday that their client would plead guilty to charges that he bilked thousands of investors out of billions of dollars in what is believed to be history’s largest Ponzi scheme. In such frauds, the accused builds confidence in an investment by paying off early investors with income from later investors.
Madoff’s lawyers reportedly said the guilty plea was not part of a plea deal with prosecutors; it was unclear whether he would plead guilty to all 11 charges.
The plea means Madoff, 70, will likely spend the rest of his life in jail.
Madoff’s victims include large numbers of Jewish philanthropies, as well as many of his Jewish friends and acquaintances.