Madoff Pleads Guilty to Epic Fraud

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The man accused of the biggest swindle in Wall Street history is now behind bars, possibly for the rest of his life.

Bernard Madoff, the former Nasdaq chairman, pleaded guilty to all 11 counts against him, including fraud, perjury, and theft from an employee benefit plan and two counts of international money laundering.

Prosecutors say Madoff stole more money from people than anyone in American history, with a scheme that started in the 1980s and continued until he was arrested late last year.

The 70-year-old trader told the judge he was "deeply sorry and ashamed," but the judge denied him bail and ordered him to jail.

Madoff admitted to carrying out an epic fraud, stealing billions of dollars from investors around the world. His victims did not mix words.

Victims React

"He's an evil man. He didn't do it to just us. He did it to charities; he did it to pension funds," Cynthia Friedman, one of Madoff's victims, said. "We were going to move into a retirement community, an active one and go on many trips, and we had to cancel everything, and now we don't know what we're going to do."

Another victim, Adriane Biondo, questioned the justice in Madoff's sentencing.

"I'd like to say that I have faith in the system. I have to wonder out loud, though. so he goes to jail? He's going to spend the rest of his life in jail - is that justice?" she asked.

Lynn Sustak and her husband Bob lost a seven-figure retirement fund. It was money set aside for the inheritance for their five children and college for their seven grandchildren.

"I don't know what I would do if I was in the same room with him. I think I'd actually throw up," Lynn Sustak said.

Bob Sustak wanted to know what Madoff was thinking when pulling off the scheme.

"How could you do this to other people. What was going through your mind?" he asked.

Other victims like Milda Hausner want Madoff to suffer.

"I'm sorry he can't live 150 years, so that so they could torture him for that long," she said.

More than 100 Years in Jail

Madoff could face a maximum sentence of 150 years in prison at his sentencing.

His scheme wiped out life fortunes, drained charities, and apparently pushed at least two investors to commit suicide. Some victims are trying to move on.

"I'm beginning to get past it a little bit where I realize I lost my money, but I will not let this man take my life from me," victim Richard Friedman said. "I have to live just like all the other people have to live."

According to court documents, by the end of November Madoff had 4,800 client accounts worth nearly $65 billion. Most of that money is gone.

But experts say the amount is likely much less, with the higher numbers reflecting false profits he promised investors.

Madoff will be sentenced June 16.

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