Bernard Madoff had sitting in his desk about 100 checks totaling some $170 million ready to send to family, friends and employees when he was arrested for a Ponzi scheme that cost investors tens of billions of dollars, a prosecutor said Wednesday.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Marc Litt told Magistrate Judge Ronald Ellis in a letter brief that the checks were further proof the disgraced financier was likely to dissipate assets if he is allowed to remain free on bail until he is tried in the most spectacular fraud in Wall Street history.
The checks were discovered during a search of Madoff’s offices, Litt said in his rebuttal brief to Ira Sorkin of Dickstein Shapiro, who argues that his client is no threat to flee and is incapable of disbursing assets that would compromise any restitution or forfeiture order should Madoff be convicted or plead guilty.
“Defendant’s effort to paint his pre-arrest actions in heroic terms should be viewed with great skepticism,” Litt said in the brief. “What the defendant failed to highlight for the court in his rendition of events is the fact that, prior to his arrest, he announced his intention to transfer $200-$300 million of the remaining investors assets” to those close to him.
The “only thing” that prevented Madoff from making the distributions was his Dec. 11 arrest, Litt said.
The mailing of some $1 million in valuables to family and friends from his apartment in late December was additional evidence that Madoff could not be trusted, the prosecutor said.
Magistrate Judge Ellis is expected to rule Friday or Monday on the government’s request that he revoke Madoff’s bail.