December 20, 2012 11:31:12 AM
NEW YORK -- The suspense surrounding the sentencing of the brother of Ponzi king Bernard Madoff will largely be absent because a plea agreement makes a 10-year prison term all but certain.
But drama will likely fill the courtroom Thursday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan anyway as 67-year-old Peter Madoff faces some of the heartbroken investors who lost their savings when the unprecedented fraud was revealed four years ago this month.
When he pleaded guilty to conspiracy and falsifying books and records of an investment adviser, the former senior compliance officer at the Madoff private investment business said he was "shocked and devastated" when his brother revealed several days before he surrendered that thousands of accounts supposedly worth $65 billion were worthless. Investigators say Bernard Madoff had distributed most of the $20 billion he took in over several decades to other investors while investing none of it in the markets as he had promised to do.
A court-appointed monitor has so far recovered nearly $9.3 billion that was lost, mostly by clawing back money from investors who received large payouts along the way. Most of the money has not yet been distributed. A small part of the recovery has resulted from the sale of numerous Madoff family assets, including the toys of the wealthy -- multi-million dollar homes, fancy cars, yachts and art.