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FBI arrests brother of Bernie Madoff

NEW YORK -- The brother of a man who became an icon of financial crime is poised to plead guilty to criminal charges, taking his place alongside Bernard Madoff, the man behind the largest Ponzi scheme ever prosecuted in U.S. history.

Peter Madoff, 66, was taken into custody at his lawyer's Manhattan office Friday morning, according to FBI spokesman J. Peter Donald. A court appearance was scheduled a few hours later.

The Madoffs' company was once believed to be the world's largest hedge fund. In reality, it was a fraud that ripped off thousands of high-profile clients for up to US$20 billion.

The plea was to take place at same courthouse where Madoff's now-74-year-old brother was taken away in handcuffs after being condemned to 150 years in prison in 2009 for cheating thousands of people out of billions of dollars. The two are the only Madoff family members to face criminal charges.

Madoff is agreeing to serve 10 years in prison for conspiracy and falsifying records and surrender his assets. The agreement will let investigators show what they have learned about the Ponzi scheme since Bernard Madoff revealed in December 2008 that his investment business was a sham.

The government has used the cooperation of six former employees and associates of the Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC to learn what went on inside the secretive business which bogus financial statements claimed held US$65 billion in assets.

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