madoff_webA judge decided today that the accused mastermind of what is allegedly the largest Ponzi scheme in history will remain free on a $10 million bond but will continue to be under house arrest at his posh Manhattan penthouse.

U.S. prosecutors had asked that Madoff be jailed while awaiting trial on a federal fraud charge. U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald Ellis ruled that Madoff was not a flight risk and did not pose a threat to society.

Prosecutors had requested that his bail be revoked because Madoff had mailed more than $1 million in jewelry and heirlooms to people over the holidays and apparently had written, but not mailed, millions of dollars of checks to people.

The decision is sure to further outrage investors who have been clamoring for Madoff to be sent to jail for allegedly carrying out the largest financial fraud in history. Prosecutors said the gifts were grounds to have his bail revoked because what’s left of Madoff’s assets will have to be returned to burned investors.

According to the report, Madoff’s new bail conditions include an inventory of his personal property and searches of his mail. The judge ruled that federal prosecutors failed to prove their contention that Madoff posed risks sufficient to merit his incarceration pending trial.

The anxiously awaited decision does put further restrictions on Madoff, including forcing him to come up with a list of items at his apartment and allowing a security firm to check on the items. The security company will also be allowed to search all outgoing mail from Madoff to ensure that no property has been transferred.
Read (more…)