At that time, Madoff also told those employees that he intended to surrender to authorities, but before he did, he planned to use $200-300 million he had left to make payments to "selected employees, family and friends," the complaint states.
Madoff was arrested Thursday morning by FBI agents and charged with criminal securities fraud by federal prosecutors in Manhattan. The complaint states that he used "manipulative and deceptive practices." The complaint cites two senior employees describing how Madoff kept his client records "under lock and key" and how he left them in the dark about how he managed the private client funds. One of those employees, in interviews with the FBI, said that Madoff was "cryptic" in his statements. This, according to clients, is in keeping with the aura that Madoff cultivated among his clients, some of whom have kept funds under management with him for generations. ABC News has learned that the two senior employees who reported Madoff were his sons.
But by the first week of December, when clients began clamoring for redemptions -- to the tune of $7 billion -- the complaint states that Madoff began a struggle to obtain the necessary liquidity. The stress began to show, employees said.
In a meeting at their boss's Manhattan apartment -- held there following a confrontation in the office Wednesday because Madoff wasn't sure "he would be able to hold it together" if the conversation took place in the office -- the employees came away believing that Madoff was "saying, in substance that he had, for years, been paying returns to certain investors out of the principal received from other, different investors."
The next day, Dec. 11, Madoff spoke with FBI agent Theodore Cacioppi and invited the agent and another agent to his apartment. Cacioppi stated in the complaint that he told Madoff he came by to see if "there's an innocent explanation."
"There is no innocent explanation," Madoff replied, according to the sworn complaint.
Madoff started his business in 1960 with $5,000 in savings. He resides in New York City and, according to clients, also maintains a posh waterfront home. Known to his clients as Bernie, he has a long and significant history on Wall Street and has been a chairman of the board of NASDAQ and was a founding member of the board of the International Securities Clearing Corp. in London.
Madoff was also the treasurer of the board of trustees at Yeshiva University, but resigned following Thursday's announcement.
"We are shocked at this revelation," said a university spokesperson. "Bernard Madoff has tendered his resignation from all positions affiliated with the university and involvement with the university. Our lawyers and accountants are investigating all aspects of his relationship to Yeshiva University. We reserve our comments until we complete our investigation."
The Web site for Madoff's firm, in its company profile, says, "Clients know that Bernard Madoff has a personal interest in maintaining the unblemished record of value, fair-dealing, and high ethical standards that has always been the firm's hallmark."
Madoff was released on $10 million bond following a court appearance in Manhattan.