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Former Madoff employs select trial over plea deal

Over the course of the past few years it is likely that few have escaped from hearing some news about the Ponzi scheme Bernard Madoff admitted to running for decades. Besides Madoff’s guilty plea, multiple other individuals who worked with him also plead guilty to crimes associated with the scheme. In addition, in conjunction with the guilty plea some also testified against others. Presumably, in exchange for their testimony and plea they will receive a lighter sentence than they otherwise would have.

Recently the trial of five additional employees began in a federal court. Unlike the former coworkers who took a deal, these individuals, who all held jobs lower on the ladder such as personal secretary or computer programmer, have decided to take their chances in court. According to some in the legal field the reason for this is that the deals they were being offered were not that good. This is likely due in large part to the fact that the big players in the scheme have already been through the legal process. Accordingly there is little information they could provide federal authorities. The decision to move ahead with a trial could also be more simply due to the fact that they are innocent and cannot imagine saying that they did something, and going to prison, for something they did not do.

While this case is one of the more high profile examples of white collar crimes, it is possible that others facing similar charges could find that they are opting for a similar strategy in their defense. In reaching a decision most probably consult with their criminal defense lawyer.

Source: Bloomberg Law, “Ex-Madoff Workers Chose Fight For Freedom Over Plea Deal,” Erik Larson, Oct. 15, 2013

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