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Bernie Madoff Scam Started Earlier: Report

A longtime colleague of Bernie Madoff reportedly plans to plead guilty to fraud Monday and tell a court that his ex-boss’s Ponzi scheme began two decades earlier than Madoff has claimed.

The Guardian reports that David Kugel, a trader who joined Madoff’s firm in 1970, is expected to plead guilty to conspiring to defraud investors in the hope of receiving a lighter sentence.

Prosecutors say in court records that Kugel will admit conspiring in Madoff’s fraud “beginning in the early 1970s.”

That clain would directly refute Madoff’s assertions that the $65 billion flim-flam only started in the early 1990s as the recession made it increasingly difficult for him to make the returns he had promised his clients.

Kugel’s account will also further undermine the claim that Madoff acted alone. It could strengthen the cases against other Madoff associates who prosecutors suspect knew more about the scheme than they have admitted, the paper reported.

Madoff, who pleaded guilty to the massive fraud, is serving 150 years in federal prison.

His wife, Ruth Madoff, and son, Andrew Madoff, recently mounted a publicity campaign to refute claims that they knew or should have known about the scam. That campaign angered victims, who would rather they kept quiet.

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