Stolen Madoff statue returned with note attached

NEW YORK Thu Jan 1, 2009 2:54pm EST

NEW YORK Jan 1 (Reuters) - A statue stolen last month from Wall Street financier Bernard Madoff's Florida home has been returned undamaged, and with a note attached, to a country club where the accused swindler is a member, Palm Beach police said on Thursday.

The attached note read: "Bernie the Swindler, Lesson: Return stolen property to rightful owners. Signed by The Educators," according to police.

"We don't know who that is," Sgt. Chris Proscia told Reuters. "We think it was done just to prove a point."

Madoff, a former Wall Street fund manager, is accused of running a $50 billion scam that ensnared wealthy investors, banks and charities around the world.

The 70-year-old investment advisor is under house arrest in his Manhattan apartment. He was criminally charged on Dec. 11 in what could prove to be Wall Street's biggest fraud. According to court documents, Madoff has confessed to his sons that he ran a Ponzi scheme for years, paying off early investors with money from new clients.

(Reporting by Nick Zieminski; editing by Gunna Dickson)

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