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Feds: Bernard Madoff is risk to flee

January 08, 2009 | Newsday.com

Accused swindler's bail should be revoked, prosecutor argues in court papers

Accused Wall Street scammer Bernard Madoff is a danger to the public and may flee in the face of massive fraud charges, a federal prosecutor stated Wednesday in court papers seeking a revocation of the 70-year-old investment adviser's bail.

In a six-page letter filed with U.S. Magistrate-Judge Ronald Ellis, Assistant U.S. Attorney Marc Litt said that Madoff presented a clear risk of further obstruction of justice after he attempted to give valuable gifts, heirlooms and jewelry to relatives and friends.

"There is no combination of conditions that reasonably will assure the presence of the defendant and the safety of the community," said Litt, who is seeking to revoke Madoff's $10 million bail and jail him.

Litt said Madoff presented a serious risk of flight because if convicted of securities fraud he faces a very high sentence under federal guidelines, possibily life.

In a court hearing on Monday, Madoff's attorney Ira Sorkin said the gift transfers weren't done in violation of any bail restrictions. Sorkin, who will file his own legal papers later Wednesday, said Madoff sought the return of the jewelry and other items after his lawyers told him to do so and before the government knew.

Litt identified the jewelry as including a diamond bracelet, a gold watch, a diamond Cartier watch, a diamond Tiffany watch, four diamond brooches, a jade necklace and other items. He said the items were turned over to the government.

Ellis will have to decide if the circumstances pose a danger to the community as defined under federal bail laws.

BY ANTHONY M. DESTEFANO

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