Bernard Madoff formally pleaded guilty to all 11 felony charges brought by prosecutors in a New York courthouse Thursday and will await sentencing in jail.
Madoff, 70, told the court he was "deeply sorry" and "ashamed" by his actions after stating he was "guilty" when asked to enter a plea. The embattled money manager and former Nasdaq
For the first time since his December arrest, Madoff admitted that he concealed fraud by sending false information to his clients. Madoff said he felt compelled to meet client investment expectations, which resulted in the massive Ponzi scheme that damaged thousands of investors.
During the hearing, Madoff said he was painfully aware that he has hurt investors and made a point to acknowledge that the businesses run by his brother and sons were legitimate, according to CNBC.
Among Madoff's other reported victims are actor Kevin Bacon and his wife, actress Kyra Sedgwick, as well as a charity linked to director Steven Spielberg and his DreamWorks partner Jeffrey Katzenberg, and screenwriter Eric Roth, whose credits include Forrest Gump and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Also wiped out were several charitable foundations, including one run by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel.
Adriane Biondo, 41, of Los Angeles, said five members of her family were affected by the fraud, including elderly relatives who were ruined. She went to court to see Madoff plead guilty and said she wanted the judge to send him to prison immediately. Madoff posted bail after his arrest and has spent the months before his guilty plea at his Upper East Side penthouse.
In three months, Madoff has gone from a man known mostly as a pioneer of electronic trading in securities to an symbol for disreputable money managers who live a life of affluence while fleecing those who entrust their life savings to their schemes.
The size of the scandal has made him an international symbol of greed and deception in difficult economic times. But it remains in dispute.