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Madoff firm's CFO pleads guilty, denied bail

Bernard Madoff's long-time deputy, Frank DiPascali, on Tuesday pleaded guilty to financial crimes including helping others carry out Wall Street's biggest investment fraud, but shed little more light in court on the decades-long swindle. “I'm standing here today to tell you that from the early 1990s to 2008 I helped Bernie Madoff and other people carry out a fraud that hurt thousands of people. I am guilty,” DiPascali, 52, said in Manhattan federal court in a dark suit and reading from a prepared statement.

US District Judge Richard Sullivan denied DiPascali bail. He was handcuffed and escorted out of court after pleading guilty under a cooperation deal with the government.

DiPascali did not identify the other people, only the disgraced financier, who is incarcerated at a medium-security prison in Butner, North Carolina, after a judge sentenced him on June 29 to an effective life term of 150 years.

Madoff, 71, pleaded guilty in March to orchestrating a worldwide $65 billion Ponzi scheme over 20 years in which early investors are paid with the money of new clients. Madoff said he acted alone in the fraud at Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC in New York.

He was arrested by the FBI in December after the number of redemption requests in the declining economy overwhelmed his ability to pay.

Unlike his former boss, DiPascali pleaded guilty under a cooperation agreement with the US government but the judge who heard his plea on Tuesday was not convinced he should remain at liberty.

He pleaded guilty to 10 charges by US prosecutors including conspiracy, securities fraud, money laundering and perjury. He faces a maximum possible sentence of 20 years each on some of the charges. Sentencing was scheduled for May 15.

DiPascali, who worked for Madoff for 33 years from the age of 18, appeared stunned at the judge's ruling at the end of a two-hour long court hearing.

DiPascali told the court that he recorded securities trades for clients that were “all fictitious” and that in January 2006, under Bernie Madoff's direction, I lied to the SEC about the activities of the firm.”

He admitted wiring money from the Madoff firm's London office to New York and falsifying trading tickets.

Only Madoff, DiPascali and the firm's outside accountant David Friehling have been charged in the massive fraud, but law enforcement sources say the FBI is investigating 10 or more people who could be charged in coming months. (Reuters)