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As victims rage, Madoff pleas

Judge sends thieving financier straight to jail

NEW YORK – Some of Bernard L. Madoff’s victims came to Lower Manhattan on Thursday to catch a glimpse of the man who had taken away their life savings, robbing them of their kids’ college funds and of their pride.

On a clear and bitterly cold morning outside U.S. District Court, they wanted more answers about how the massive Ponzi scheme was perpetrated, who was involved and what was left. They wanted to tell the judge he should show no mercy. They wanted to vent their rage.

“To see him for the first time, I’m just very emotional and close to falling apart,” Sharon Lissauer said as she stood in the chill, biting back tears. “I lost all my savings. I don’t have anything else. If only he could reveal where (the assets) are and help make the investors whole.“

As television helicopters circled overhead and hundreds of cameramen and photographers from around the world crowded around, Madoff walked briskly into the courthouse. He would not re-emerge. He pleaded guilty to 11 felony charges, including securities fraud, mail fraud and money laundering. At 11:13 a.m., a little more than an hour after the proceedings began, an expressionless Madoff was led away to jail.