Page last updated at 21:34 GMT, Friday, 13 March 2009

Madoff's lawyers contest jailing

Cell at the New York Metropolitan Correction Center
Mr Madoff has swapped his Manhattan penthouse for a cell like this

The lawyers of disgraced US financier Bernard Madoff have appealed against a judge's decision to revoke his bail and send him to jail, a US court says.

On Thursday, he pleaded guilty to a $50bn (35bn) fraud and was sent to jail to await sentencing in June.

His lawyers said he should be released until sentencing because he never made any attempt to flee while under house arrest at his Manhattan penthouse.

An appeals court will hear the case on March 19.

Mr Madoff's lawyers filed papers with a federal appeals court on Friday.

"The District Court erroneously failed to release Mr Madoff because the evidence clearly shows that Mr Madoff is not a flight risk and does not pose a threat to the community," a court document said.

Mr Madoff, 70, faces up to 150 years in prison.

Guilty pleas

Prosecutors are investigating if others were involved in the crime and whether any stolen funds can be recovered.

Madoff has pleaded guilty to 11 charges - four counts of fraud, three counts of money laundering, making false statements, perjury, making a false filing to the US financial watchdog, and theft from an employee benefit plan.

Madoff told his Thursday court hearing that his family members, and other colleagues, had only ever worked in parts of his business - Bernard L Madoff Investment Securities - that were "legitimate, profitable and successful".

A former chairman of the Nasdaq stock market, Madoff had been a Wall Street figure for more than 40 years.

Madoff ran a Ponzi scheme, whereby early investors were paid off with the money of new clients.

While he said it only started in the early 1990s, prosecutors say it began in the 1980s.

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