Madoff ordered to forfeit over $170 billion

Written by Associated Press | New York | Updated: Jun 28 2009, 07:18am hrs
Bernard Madoff
Disgraced financier Bernard Madoff must forfeit $ 170 billion, a federal judge ordered.

US District Judge Denny Chin entered a preliminary order of forfeiture, and Acting US Attorney Lev Dassin released a copy of the order.

Madoff was ordered to give up his interests in all property, including real estate, investments, cars and boats.

According to earlier court documents, prosecutors reserved the right to pursue more than $170 billion in criminal forfeiture. That represents the total amount of money that could be connected to the fraud, not the amount stolen or lost.

The government also settled claims against Madoffs wife, according to Fridays order. Under the arrangement, the government obtained Ruth Madoffs interest in all property, including more than $80 million of property to which she had claimed was hers, prosecutors said. The order makes it clear, though, that nothing precludes other departments or entities from seeking to recover additional funds.

A call to Madoffs lawyer, Ira Sorkin was not immediately returned. In his own court filing in March, Sorkin said the governments forfeiture demand of $177 billion was grossly overstated and misleading even for a case of this magnitude.cession has lasted until now.

The agreements strip the Madoffs of all their interest in properties belonging to them, including homes in Manhattan, Montauk, and Palm Beach, Florida, worth a total of nearly $22 million. The Madoffs must also forfeit all insured or salable personal property contained in the homes.

Other seized assets include accounts at Cohmad Securities Corporation, valued at almost $ 50 million, and at Wachovia Bank, valued at just over $13 million, and tens of millions of dollars in loans extended by Madoff to family, employees and friends.

The judges order also authorised the US Marshals Service to sell the Manhattan co-op, properties in Montauk and Palm Beach and certain cars and boats.

Madoff, 71, is due to be sentenced on Monday after pleading guilty in March to charges that his exclusive investment advisory business was actually a massive

Ponzi scheme. Federal prosecutors want Madoff to be sentenced to 150 years in prison for orchestrating perhaps the largest financial swindle in history. Madoffs lawyer has said his client should serve only 12 years. The sheer scale of the fraud calls for severe punishment, the prosecutors wrote in response to a defense motion seeking lighter punishment.

Federal sentencing guidelines allow for the 150-year term, prosecutors said. Any lesser sentence, they added, should still be long enough to send a forceful message and assure that Madoff will remain in prison for life.