Madoff’s man Frank DiPascali was sent to jail today, where he’ll stay at least until sentencing in May of next year. As part of the plea bargain, the prosecutors had agreed to let the man stay free on bail but as in all such bargains, the judge doesn’t have to go along. In this case, he didn’t. Good.
Attorneys argued the former chief financial officer should be free on bail to help investigators sift through a mountain of evidence. But U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan surprised both sides by ordering DiPascali jailed immediately — a rarity for a cooperator in a white-collar case who had pleaded guilty.
Sullivan said he felt compelled to keep 52-year-old DiPascali locked up after hearing the defendant admit that, at Madoff’s direction, he lied to the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2006 when he thought they might discover the fraud. The judge said he was troubled too that DiPascali also lied repeatedly “to people who entrusted him with their life savings.”
Defense attorney Marc Mukasey told Sullivan his client was “completely unprepared for this” and tried several times to persuade the judge to change his mind. He described DiPascali as a genuinely repentant cooperator who won the trust of FBI agents by speaking to them nearly every day since late last year.
But in the end, a dejected-looking DiPascali was handcuffed and led out of the courtroom.