History’s Biggest Bails
As the former non-executive chairman of the NASDAQ stock market and chairman of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, which he founded in 1960, Bernie Madoff was a renowned fixture on Wall Street. All that changed when he was revealed to be the main operator of the largest Ponzi scheme in United States history. Prosecutors estimated the size of the fraud to be roughly $64.8 billion.
Madoff was arrested and charged with securities fraud in December of 2008. Later that month he posted a $10 million bail bond and was allowed to live in his Upper East Side penthouse apartment under house arrest and 24-hour surveillance. Judge Denny Chin revoked his bail in March of 2009, ruling that Madoff was a flight risk.
Raj Rajaratnam was the founder of the Galleon Group, a New York-based hedge fund management firm. In October 2009 he was arrested by the FBI for insider trading in the stock of companies such as Hilton and Google. Rajaratnam’s bail was set at $100 million, the highest ever set at the time. After paying $2.5 million in cash, Raj’s lawyers requested the bail be reduced to $25 million. Judge Theodore Katz denied the request, forcing Rajaratnam to pay the rest of his bond in securities and property.
Real estate heir Robert Durst has a lengthy history with the law and is suspected of foul play in three separate murder investigations across the country. In October of 2001 Durst was arrested on suspicion of murdering his elderly neighbor, Morris Black. Durst posted $300,000 in bail and left the next day, but was expected to appear at a court hearing on October 16. When he missed the hearing, a warrant was issued for his arrest on a charge of bail jumping.
Durst was eventually found and went on trial for the murder of Black. While he was eventually acquitted of any murder charges, Durst was held in custody on one charge of bond jumping and two of tampering with evidence. The trial judges set bail for the three charges at a total of $3 billion, claiming Robert was a major flight risk. An appeals court later overturned the amount and forced the bail to be lowered.
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