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What is the Bernard Madoff fraud ?

According to the original federal complaint, Bernard Madoff claimed his firm had "liabilities of approximately US$50 billion." Prosecutors increased their estimate of the size of the fraud from $50 billion to $64.8 billion, based on the amounts in the accounts of Madoff's 4,800 clients in November 30, 2008. On December 10, 2008, he confessed to his sons that the asset management arm of his firm was a giant Ponzi scheme as he put it, "one big lie." They then passed this information to authorities. The following day, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents arrested Bernard Madoff and charged him with one count of securities fraud. Five days after his arrest, Madoff's assets and those of the firm were frozen, and a receiver was appointed to handle the case. Madoff's accountant, David G. Friehling, has been arrested in the case, and law enforcement continues to investigate if others were involved. The SEC conducted several investigations into Madoff's business practices since 1999, which critics contend were incompetently handled.

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