Page last updated at 04:25 GMT, Saturday, 27 June 2009 05:25 UK

Court deal strips Madoff wealth

bernie madoff
Madoff has admitted fraud and will be sentenced next week

A US court has stripped disgraced financier Bernard Madoff and his wife of their wealth.

Madoff forfeited rights to assets totalling $170bn (£103bn) - the figure prosecutors said passed through his investment firm over the years.

His wife Ruth agreed to forfeit $80m in assets - including property - but was left with $2.5m in cash.

In March Madoff, 71, pleaded guilty to masterminding a $50bn investment fraud and will be sentenced on Monday.

He has asked for a 12-year term, but prosecutors say they are seeking one of 150 years.

A fraudulent investment scheme paying investors from money paid in by other investors rather than real profits
Named after Charles Ponzi who notoriously used the technique in the United States in the 1920s
Differs from pyramid selling in that individuals all tend to invest with the same person

Court papers said the figure of $150bn represents the total amount of money that could be connected to the fraud.

Losses identified as fraud currently exceeded $13bn, prosecutors said.

The $80m forfeited by Ruth Madoff - who is not facing charges - includes the couple's Manhattan home, another also in New York and a house in Florida.

Bernard Madoff has admitted defrauding thousands of investors in a Ponzi scheme he said had been running since the early 1990s.

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