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Bullet -proof vest clad Madoff’s bail upheld in New York court

Posted on March 13, 2009 - Filed Under Body Armor |

Wearing a bullet proof vest, the renegade Wall Street fund manager Bernard Madoff made a brief appearance at a Manhattan courthouse today to fend off another attempt by the US government to put him behind bars.

Under tight security, Madoff left the upper east side penthouse where he is under house arrest to make a short trip to a federal building in downtown New York, tracked by television helicopters and pursued by a scrum of photographers.

Arriving in court, Madoff removed a blue sleeveless body armor jacket from under his dark overcoat before passing through metal detectors. Reports in the US media have suggested that the 70-year old has received death threats, which have been referred to the FBI.

In court, prosecutors appealed to district judge Lawrence McKenna to overturn a lower court’s ruling on Monday that Madoff could remain out of jail under bail of $10m.

The US government argues that Madoff, who is accused of scamming investors out of $50bn, breached an order freezing his assets by sending packages of jewellery and valuable watches to family members on Christmas Eve.

Prosecutor Marc Litt told the court that the mailings showed Madoff “cannot be trusted under any set of conditions short of detention”.

But judge McKenna upheld Madoff’s bail, saying the government had not shown that the former Wall Street fixture posed an immediate danger of economic harm to the community.

A private security firm paid for by Madoff’s wife is being required to take an inventory of all valuable possessions and to monitor any outgoing mail from the couple’s apartment.

According to the US attorney’s office for Manhattan, Madoff confessed to his two sons in December that his $50bn investment fund was an effective Ponzi scheme was built on “a big lie”.

Victims of the alleged fraud include scores of hedge funds, philanthropists, charities and Hollywood names including Kevin Bacon and Steven Spielberg.

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