- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Bernard Madoff, even as he faces the prospect of dying behind bars for his epic swindle, has never wavered on one point: He acted alone.

Federal investigators haven’t budged either: They don’t believe him.

The day after Madoff was given a 150-year term, a person close to the investigation said Tuesday that the sentencing marked “the end of the beginning” of a far-reaching investigation expected to answer lingering questions about how the disgraced financier pulled off perhaps the largest financial fraud history — and who helped him.

The person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, told the Associated Press on Monday that prosecutors expect to charge at least 10 more people in the scheme. The person said Tuesday that no arrests were imminent.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office refused to comment on the status of the investigation or potential suspects.

Madoff, 71, pleaded guilty in March to charges that his secretive investment advisory business was a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme that wiped out thousands of investors and ruined charities.

Madoff admitted his own crimes and has said members of his inner circle — including a brother and two sons who ran a brokerage operation under the same roof as his firm — were innocent bystanders. Attorneys for the family have vehemently denied any wrongdoing.

“How do you excuse deceiving 200 employees who have spent most of their working life working for me?” Madoff said at sentencing. “How do you excuse lying to your brother and two sons who spent their whole adult life helping to build a successful and respectful business?”

Ruth Madoff broke her silence Tuesday to suggest that she was among the victims of Madoff’s deceit. Her husband, she said in a statement, “stunned us all with his confession and is responsible for this terrible situation in which so many now find themselves.”

But in the six months since the former Nasdaq chairman’s arrest, the family has not escaped intense scrutiny by federal authorities and a court-appointed trustee overseeing liquidation of Madoff’s assets. A judge’s forfeiture order has stripped Mrs. Madoff of $80 million in assets, including a penthouse apartment where she still lives.

Besides the family, there have been questions about the role of Frank DiPascali, chief financial officer of Madoff’s money management business, and that of several large money managers who funneled billions of dollars of investments to the firm. The trustee, Irving Picard, has filed lawsuits against the managers, accusing them of being Madoff cronies who either knew, or should have known, about the fraud.

Former prosecutors said Madoff’s sentencing wasn’t a grand finale.

“Once the primary wrongdoer has been sentenced, it typically is a fact that will take the wind out of the sails of an investigation,” said William Devaney, a former federal prosecutor now in private practice. “However, this is an atypical investigation.”

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