Madoff Right-Hand Man to Get Bail

By Jonathan Dienst

One of the men who helped Bernie Madoff pull of the $65 billion dollar fraud is being set free for now even though he admitted to helping orchestrate the massive swindle.

For weeks, the office of US Attorney Preet Bharara has been urging a federal judge to release admitted criminal Frank DiPascali so he can better cooperate with the FBI in tracking other Madoff relatives and associates involved in the scheme.

Judge Richard Sullivan agreed on Thursday to release(.pdf) DiPascali on $10 million bond secured by nine other people including DiPascali's sister who put up her Bridgewater New Jersey home.

Other non-relatives agreed to risk $1 million in retirement savings that the man already convicted of lying to investors in the massive scheme will return to court in the future. DiPascali will also be fitted with an electronic monitoring device to try to ensure he does not flee. 

It was back on August 12 that DiPascali admitted he helped Madoff cheat investors for more than 20 years. 

"I knew it was criminal and I did it anyway," DiPascali told Judge Sullivan.

Judge Sullivan originally ordered DiPascali to jail immediately and said he would consider reducing his sentence if he cooperated with the FBI.  But after repeated requests by prosecutors and defense lawyers -- and with no victims writing to voice an objection -- Sullivan relented and agreed to let DiPascali return to his home under the bail conditions.

DiPascali is facing up to 125 years in prison and Judge Sullivan had warned he was a real risk of flight.  Several past accused white collar criminals have fled in recent years including the CEO of Symbol Technologies, the one-time head of the Days Inn Hotel chain, the head of Comverse Technologies, among others.

DiPascali had said that before the Ponzi scheme unraveled he had always hoped Madoff would find a way to make enough money to repay investors.

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