UPDATE 1-Madoff stays out on bail, to get electronic monitoring

Wed Dec 17, 2008 11:16am EST

(Adds details on bail conditions)

By Grant McCool

NEW YORK Dec 17 (Reuters) - Bernard Madoff, the financier accused of one of the biggest frauds in Wall Street history, will be allowed to stay out on bail but placed under electronic monitoring and home detention, a U.S. judge ordered on Wednesday.

U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Gabriel Gorenstein said in a written order that Madoff's wife Ruth was required to surrender her passport by noon on Thursday and said a hearing scheduled for Wednesday was canceled.

"In light of this order and the agreement of both the defendant and the government to the changes in the bail conditions, there is no need for a further hearing on bail today," the judge's written order said. "Accordingly, the hearing is canceled."

The judge modified the bail so that Madoff would not need two more signatures to guarantee the bond, as initially required after his arrest on a securities fraud charge last week. Only his wife and brother Peter, who also worked at Madoff's firm, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC had signed it as of Wednesday morning.

"It appears that the defendant will not be able to meet the remaining condition of two additional co-signers on the bond," Assistant U.S. Attorney Marc Litt wrote in a letter to the judge.

The new conditions also include a curfew of 7 p.m. through 9 a.m. The electronic monitoring was to be installed as soon as possible, according to court documents.

Madoff faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $5 million if convicted.

He was arrested after Madoff had confessed to perpetrating a securities fraud that is suspected of totaling $50 billion, authorities said.

The government contends that since 2005 Madoff had been running a Ponzi scheme in which early investors were paid off with money from later investors.

Madoff is accused of defrauding banks, charities and rich individuals worldwide with the money he managed. He was released on a $10 million bond last Thursday. (Additional reporting by Martha Graybow; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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