UPDATE: According to a letter sent by federal prosecutors to Madoff's attorney, Ira Lee Sorkin, the government seeks a stunning maximum $170.8 billion in forfeitures from Madoff related to his alleged Ponzi scheme. (Scroll down to read the letter.)
NEW YORK — Bernard Madoff will plead guilty Thursday to 11 criminal counts including money laundering, perjury and securities, mail and wire fraud and will do so without a plea deal, knowing it carries a potential prison term of 150 years, lawyers said Tuesday in court.
Lawyers outlined the plea arrangement for the 70-year-old former Nasdaq chairman that was set to unfold later this week after Madoff waived several potential conflicts of interest between Madoff and his lawyer, Ira Sorkin.
Asked by the judge if Madoff would plead guilty Thursday, Sorkin said: "I think that's a fair expectation."
In papers filed after Tuesday's proceeding, prosecutors outlined the case against Madoff, who quietly spoke in court, answering the questions of U.S. District Judge Denny Chin.
Prosecutors said in the papers that Madoff operated a massive Ponzi scheme in which his clients' funds were misappropriated and converted to the use of Madoff, his business and others.
Chin said he will not sentence Madoff for several months after Thursday's proceedings.
He told prosecutors to limit the number of victims who will be allowed to speak in court to those who want to argue either that Chin not accept the plea, or go against what Chin plans to decide as to whether Madoff should remain free on bail after Thursday's hearing.
Chin also said anyone addressing the court will be limited in time and must conduct themselves in a "respectful and dignified manner."
Sorkin complained that federal authorities have not let lawyers for Madoff study the financial records of his company so he can show that some individuals or financial funds actually received more in payouts over the years than they are claiming they lost.
Chin said he understood that Madoff was not agreeing to the extent of the losses.
Although authorities have outlined a $50 billion fraud that they say Madoff carried out for many years, those reviewing his company's books say the size of the actual fraud might have been less than $20 billion.
So far, authorities have located about $1 billion for jilted investors.
Sorkin's family had invested more than $900,000 with Madoff. After questioning Madoff, the judge ruled that Sorkin may continue representing Madoff.
Start your workday the right way with the news that matters most. Learn more