(NEW YORK) — Peter Madoff, the younger brother of Bernard Madoff, was has pleaded guilty to securities fraud related to his brother’s infamous Ponzi scheme and will serve 10 years in prison.
“The Madoff investment empire, built on a foundation of deceit, was a house of cards that grew to skyscraper proportions. As Peter Madoff has admitted today, he was one of the chief architects,” FBI Assistant Director Janice Fedarcyk said. “Peter Madoff played an essential enabling role in the largest investment fraud in U.S. history. He made a pretense of compliance; he was really about complicity.”
A former Bernard L. Madoff Securities LLC chief compliance officer, the 66-year-old agreed to forfeit $143.1 billion, which represents every penny prosecutors believe passed through the firm during the time of the conspiracy. He helped run the firm for nearly 40 years, since 1965. His older brother Bernie is already serving 150 years in prison for a laundry list of financial crimes.
The younger Madoff told the court he was in “total shock” when he learned of his brother’s fraud.
“I was shocked and devastated but nevertheless I did as my brother had said, as I had consistently done for decades,” he said, apparently reading from a prepared statement. “I knew that the conduct was wrong and I am deeply ashamed.”
Peter Madoff is the eighth person to plead guilty in connection with the four-year probe into the fraud scheme, in which $20 billion vanished, costing many investors their life savings.
“Peter Madoff enabled the largest fraud in human history. He will now be jailed well into old age, and he will forfeit virtually every penny he has,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said. “We are not yet finished calling to account everyone responsible for the epic fraud of Bernard Madoff and the epic pain of his many victims.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Jackie Wattles, CNN
Parija Kavilanz, CNN
Paul R. La Monica, CNN