NEW YORK, (Reuters) – Bernard Madoff, accused mastermind of a $50 billion investment fraud, is expected to plead guilty to criminal charges next week, three months after his arrest shocked his customers worldwide.
A court document signed yesterday by prosecutors and Madoff’s lead attorney indicated the once-respected Wall Street trader and investment manager would waive an indictment and plead guilty to criminal charges.
A March 12 hearing was scheduled for Madoff to appear in court on the charges, said a clerk for Judge Denny Chin in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, who was assigned to oversee the case.
Madoff, who is under house arrest, also is set to appear at a March 10 hearing on a potential conflict of interest involving his main lawyer, Ira Sorkin.
Legal experts said all signs indicate that a guilty plea has been negotiated in what authorities have called the biggest Ponzi scheme in Wall Street history. The purported swindle ran for decades but collapsed in last year’s market meltdown.