The brother of the man convicted of one of the biggest financial scams in history has pleaded guilty to assisting in the fraud. Peter Madoff forfeited all his assets and faces 10 years in prison.
Peter Madoff pleaded guilty in a New York court on Friday to assisting his brother Bernard Madoff in a Ponzi scheme that cost clients at the brothers' company up to $20 billion (15.8 billion euros).
"I apologize to the people I hurt and to my family," the 66-year-old said in court. He admitted to tax fraud and falsifying documents on his brother's behalf and accepted a 10-year prison sentence.
The hedge fund company was once believed to be the largest in the world. Bernard Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison in 2009 when it was revealed he had been ripping off thousands of his clients.
Peter Madoff claimed in court that he did not know about the scam until his brother's arrest.
"Until December 2008 I never suspected that my brother stole from anyone. I was in shock and devastated," he said. "I lost my reputation. My family was torn apart because of my brother."
In addition to spending time in jail, Peter Madoff will surrender his assets.
"Peter Madoff enabled the largest fraud in human history," US Attorney Preet Bharara said. "He will now be jailed well into old age, and he will forfeit virtually every penny he has. We are not yet finished calling to account everyone responsible for the epic fraud of Bernard Madoff and the epic pain of his many victims."
So far, the Madoff brothers have been the only members of the family to face charges in connection with the fraud. But Bernard Madoff's son, Andrew, who was co-director of trading, or Peter's daughter, Shana, who served as the firm's compliance officer, could also face charges.
mz/mkg (Reuters, AFP, AP)