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Madoff pleads guilty to securities fraud charges

[JURIST] US financier Bernard Madoff [JURIST news archive] pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to all 11 charges of securities fraud [complaint, PDF; JURIST report]. The plea was entered at a hearing before Judge Denny Chin of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website]. Victims of Madoff's alleged multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme are expected to testify at the hearing later Thursday. Chin will then rule on whether Madoff should be allowed to continue to remain free on bail [NYT report]. Thursday's hearing is the first time Madoff has spoken publicly about the allegations facing him. Prosecutors are seeking a 150-year sentence, but a sentence is not expected for several months.

Last month, Madoff consented [JURIST report] to a partial judgment [SEC press release] with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) [official website] over civil charges brought by the SEC to obtain a preliminary injunction and asset freeze against him. The same day, SEC Division of Enforcement Director Linda Thomsen announced she was stepping down from her post [SEC press release]. In the week following Madoff's charges, SEC Chairman Christopher Cox [official profile] said that he would launch an immediate investigation [press release; JURIST report] into how the fraud allegedly perpetrated by Madoff went undetected for so long. In December, then-President-elect Barack Obama [official profile] named [press release] Mary Schapiro [professional profile] as the SEC Chairman, replacing Cox. Madoff was charged with securities fraud in December for allegedly violating the anti-fraud provisions of the Securities Act of 1933, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 [texts].

11:25 AM - Chin has ordered Madoff to be remanded in custody until his sentencing hearing June 16, effectively revoking his bail. He is expected to be held at Manhattan's Metropolitan Correctional Center [official website].

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