Judge to rule on Madoff bail on Monday

NEW YORK Fri Jan 9, 2009 8:26pm EST

Bernard Madoff is escorted from Federal Court in New York January 5, 2009. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Bernard Madoff is escorted from Federal Court in New York January 5, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. judge will issue a written ruling at noon on Monday on a request by U.S. prosecutors to revoke the bail of accused swindler Bernard Madoff and jail him, a court spokesman said on Friday.

Separately, a court hearing tentatively scheduled for Monday on the criminal charges against Madoff has been adjourned, his lawyer Ira Sorkin said.

The government had until 30 days from Madoff's December 11 arrest to bring an indictment or decide to continue the case for now as a criminal complaint.

"The hearing has been adjourned at the request of the government and on consent of Mr Madoff," Sorkin said on Friday night.

Prosecutors this week asked the judge to revoke Madoff's bail, saying he violated a December 18 court order freezing his assets by mailing more than $1 million worth of valuables to relatives and friends.

They also argued that Madoff was a flight risk and was trying to disperse assets that might be part of restitution to victims of his purported scheme that bilked rich people, banks and charities worldwide.

Madoff's lawyers responded in a brief to the court that Madoff "simply did not realize" that mailing personal items contravened the court order. They said he was not a flight risk because he was under house arrest and 24-hour surveillance in his Manhattan apartment.

On Thursday, a clerk for Magistrate Judge Ronald Ellis of U.S. District Court in Manhattan said the judge would issue his decision on Friday or Monday.

But on Friday night a court spokesman told reporters, "The judge will make his ruling at noon on Monday."

Madoff, 70, a former chairman of the NASDAQ stock market, was arrested and charged on December 11 for what would be Wall Street's biggest Ponzi scheme, one in which early investors are paid off with the money of new clients.

If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison and millions of dollars in fines. Madoff confessed to his sons a month ago that for many years he ran a "giant Ponzi scheme" with losses of $50 billion, according to court documents.

The investment adviser has not formally answered the charge. He appeared in court at an initial hearing after his arrest and again on January 5 when the government demanded his bail be revoked.

An FBI agent said Madoff told him "that he personally traded and lost money for institutional clients and that it was all his fault," according to court papers.

Fraud experts said the purported scheme was too complicated and went on too long to have been carried out by Madoff alone.

The investment adviser who has been a Wall Street figure for more than 40 years is the only person accused in the scandal surrounding his Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC. The firm had a brokerage-trading arm and an investment advisory arm.

(Reporting by Edith Honan and Grant McCool; Editing by Bernard Orr)