Government Tries Again to Jail Madoff

Prosecutors seek to overturn decision allowing Madoff to stay in his penthouse.

ByABC News
January 8, 2009, 11:29 AM

Jan. 13, 2009— -- Rebuffed Monday by a federal magistrate in their effort to place him behind bars, the prosecutors in the Bernard Madoff investor fraud case reinvigorated their effort to place the alleged perpetrator of a $50 billion Ponzi scheme behind bars until such time as he is prosecuted or a deal is reached in lieu of prosecution.

Madoff may appear in court at tomorrow's bail appeal hearing, but neither the prosecution or the defense could immediately confirm.

A 49-page "letter brief" submitted to Federal District Court Judge Lawrence McKenna today seeks to overturn the decision by federal magistrate Ronald Ellis, but while offering a procedural history and arguing its points strongly, it seemed to offer little in the way of new information.

Prosecutors continue to argue that Madoff is an economic danger to the community - a premise that Ellis found questionable - they cited once again the effort by Madoff to ship heirloom jewelry through the mail as an attempt to "dissipate assets" and while they acknowledged the current bail conditions were perhaps the next most stringent to confinement they argued they were not enough to stop Madoff from further bleeding off assets that could recompense his allegedly defrauded investors.

The government again argued that Madoff had "little to lose given the lengthy time of incarceration that he likely faces."

The brief was filed in federal district court in New York. As a backdrop to it, published reports indicate that conversations are ongoing between the prosecution and the defense, which earlier had acknowledged some degree of cooperation with the government.

Prosecutors added that Mrs. Ruth Madoff, while not a party to the proceeding, cannot be trusted to enforce not to unilaterally "dissipate" the assets.

An initial agreement between the defense and prosecution gave soft bail terms for Madoff following his December 11th arrest - confinement at night to his $7 million Manhattan penthouse and security against flight by consigners to the bond and the penthouse and other properties in his or his wife's name. They were quickly amended to keep Madoff confined in the Upper East Side home 24 hours a day watched by armed security and wearing an electronic ankle bracelet designed to trigger alarms if he strayed.

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