Madoff ordered to remain behind bars

March 20, 2009 8:52:26 AM PDT
Disgraced financier Bernard Madoff will remain in prison until he is sentenced in one of history's largest frauds. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan issued its written ruling a day after hearing arguments from a lawyer for the 70-year-old former Nasdaq chairman seeking his release.

The appeals court said U.S. District Judge Denny Chin did not clearly err when he sent Madoff to prison last week immediately after Madoff confessed that he had defrauded thousands of investors of billions of dollars for at least two decades.

Chin had cited Madoff's age and said the possibility of life in prison heightened the incentive to flee. Madoff faces up to 150 years in prison at sentencing, scheduled for June 16.

"The defendant's age and his exposure to imprisonment are undisputed, and the court did not err in inferring an incentive to flee from these facts," the 2nd Circuit wrote in its four-page ruling.

"Moreover, the district court's finding that the defendant has the means -- and therefore the ability -- to flee are not clear error. The defendant has argued that all of his assets are accounted for and are inaccessible to him; however, the district court was not required to treat this defendant's financial representations as reliable," the three-judge appeals panel said.

Ira Sorkin, Madoff's lawyer, declined to discuss whether he might appeal the issue further.

"We are disappointed. We respectfully disagree with the court but the court has ruled," Sorkin said.

Janice Oh, a spokeswoman for prosecutors, said the office had no comment.

Madoff pleaded guilty last week to securities fraud, perjury and other charges.

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