Madoffs agree to asset freeze in trustee lawsuit

 @ibtimes
on February 05 2010 3:43 PM

NEW YORK - The brother, sons and niece of imprisoned epic swindler Bernard Madoff have agreed to an asset freeze in a lawsuit brought by the trustee winding down the Madoff firm, court documents filed on Friday said.

Madoff's brother Peter Madoff, sons Andrew and Mark and niece Shana agreed to disclose their finances within 30 days and to report any changes monthly to the trustee.

Last October 2, trustee Irving Picard sued in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York the four Madoffs who were most closely associated with the firm while the multibillion dollar fraud was being perpetrated.

Bernard Madoff, 71, is serving a 150-year prison sentence after pleading guilty last March to running a decades-long fraud of as much as $65 billion, considered Wall Street's biggest investment swindle.

Picard sued the four in a single lawsuit for a total of $198.7 million, accusing them of milking the business for their personal gain and not stopping the Ponzi scheme, in which early investors were paid with the money of new clients.

October's civil lawsuit accused the four executives of the family-run firm of being completely derelict in duties and responsibilities and using money they made to buy everything from luxury vacation homes to expensive restaurant meals.

Last July, the trustee sued Bernard Madoff's wife, Ruth, separately for $45 million.

The trustee is seeking to recover as much money and assets as possible to pay the former customers and investors of the now defunct Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC in New York.

Friday's consent orders for each of the Madoffs said they shall not incur any debt, obligation, or other liability, directly or indirectly, beneficially or otherwise, beyond $1,000 without the prior written approval of the Plaintiff, except for the ordinary use of credit cards and as permitted elsewhere in this order.

Lawyers or representatives of the four were not immediately available for comment.

In October, each dismissed Picard's allegations as baseless and said they had no prior knowledge of Madoff's crimes.

Last month, a lawyer for Peter Madoff said in a New Jersey civil lawsuit that his client was under criminal investigation by U.S. prosecutors. Although not a surprise given his decades-long involvement with the firm, the probe had not previously been acknowledged.

The case is Irving Picard, Trustee for the liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC v Peter Madoff et al No. 09-01503 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan)

(Reporting by Grant McCool; editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Andre Grenon)

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