For the second time this week, Bernard Madoff has escaped being carted off to jail.
A judge ruled that federal prosecutors failed to show that Madoff is either a flight risk or a danger to the community. The disgraced hedge fund manager, who has been charged with running a $50 billion Ponzi scheme, remains free on $10 million bond, although he is confined to his Manhattan apartment.
“The chance of Mr. Madoff fleeing at this point is as close to nil as you can get,” U.S. District Judge Lawrence McKenna said. “The freeze on the assets has made it close to impossible for the defendant to dispose of anything valuable.”
Prosecutors had argued that Madoff should be sent to jail for allegedly sending more than $1 million in gifts to family and friends over the holidays—and after his arrest. Madoff’s attorneys counter that sending the gifts was an innocent mistake.
Authorities are likely to try to send Madoff to prison again as the investigation into the alleged fraud continues. Today’s ruling can be appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York.