LOWER MANHATTAN (PIX11)—He has one of the most notorious names in modern U.S. history, after thousands of investors connected to him lost their life savings totaling $65 billion in wealth on paper. Now, a Madoff is free on bail, but it's not Bernie, the notorious Ponzi schemer, but his brother Peter, whose job it was to ensure that Madoff's investment business was in compliance with the law.
I am deeply ashamed of my actions," Peter Madoff said, choking back tears as he made a nearly 10 minute-long confession in a federal courtroom in Lower Manhattan late Friday morning. "I want to apologize to anyone who I harmed, and to my family, he said.
Even though he pleaded guilty to conspiracy, fraud, falsifying documents and obstruction, Peter Madoff was sure to point out more than once in his statement that "there was no doubt that [his brother Bernie] was the boss," who "made clear... I'd never be a partner."
In that statement, Peter Madoff attempted to put himself as far as possible from his brother's misdeeds, which landed Bernie Madoff in prison for 150 years. Peter Madoff will serve a 10-year sentence that will formally begin October 4th, when he will be brought back to court, and then be sent off to federal prison.
The man whose office was just a few steps away from his brother's also agreed to a $143.1 billion penalty. Even though Peter Madoff does not have assets totaling anywhere near that amount, it was set by prosecutors as an indication that he will agree to surrender all of his assets, including money and property.
Peter Madoff admitted to a variety of illegal acts as the compliance officer of his brother's firm, including helping to arrange for his wife to be an employee of the company, with full pay and benefits, even though she never did a day's work there. Prosecutors said in court that Peter Madoff also once signed a group of weekly compliance documents all at once, using different pens for the different signatures, to provide the appearance of having signed the compliance forms over the course of weeks.
The younger Madoff brother also said in court, "I conspired with others to avert the law," an indication that other people related to the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme, including other Madoff family members, could be implicated in the case in the future.
Echoing that indication was the prosecutor. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara issued a statement after Peter Madoff posted his $5 million bond , which was secured through assets and signatures of six people other than Peter Madoff himself. Bharara's statement read in part, "We are not yet finished calling to account everyone responsible for the epic fraud of Bernard Madoff and the epic pain of his many victims."