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July 29, 2009 8:02 AM

Trim-Looking Madoff Surprised SEC Didn't Catch Him

Posted by Brian Baxter

In his first interview since turning himself in for running a $50 billion Ponzi scheme seven months ago, Bernard Madoff told noted trial lawyer Joseph Cotchett that even he couldn't believe his scheme went undetected for so long.

The Associated Press reports that Cotchett visited Madoff at a medium-security federal correctional facility in Butner, N.C., for almost five hours on Tuesday afternoon to discuss details of the fraud and how Madoff managed to avoid it being detected by regulators.

"It was an extraordinary visit," Cotchett told The AP (click here for a televised report). "He was very candid, very open, and answered every one of our questions."

Cotchett, a founder and name partner of suburban San Francisco-based Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, is representing about a dozen Madoff victims that have filed suit against the disgraced investment manager and several other defendants this week in New York state court in Manhattan.

Cotchett told ABC News that Madoff mentioned several times where he thought the SEC had finally caught him, but failed to do so. Cotchett added that Madoff was remorseful, "very articulate," and appeared to be in better shape than Cotchett remembered seeing him in photographs the past few months.

The Wall Street Journal's Law Blog reports that Madoff was flanked by one of his lawyers from Dickstein Shapiro, Mauro Wolfe, during the interview with Cotchett and Nancy Fineman, a partner with Cotchett's firm.

Madoff pled guilty in March and was sentenced to 150 years in prison by U.S. district court judge Denny Chin in June.

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Nice to hear he's so flippant about the misery he's caused so many people. He and the people associated with him (including the people who'd support or defend him) should be rotting in prison.

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