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Madoff middleman charged with fraud

business Updated: Apr 07, 2009 07:57 IST
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An investment advisor who allegedly steered his clients' money to Bernard Madoff's massive Ponzi scheme was charged with fraud on Monday.

J Ezra Merkin invested more than $2.4 billion of his clients' money with Madoff, who pleaded guilty last month to the $50-billion scheme in which funds from new investors were used to pay off earlier ones.

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo charged Merkin with steering money to Madoff without his clients' permission in exchange for $470 million in fees. He allegedly ignored signs that Madoff's business was a fraud, debunking investors for nearly two decades.

Merkin is charged with violating business law for fraudulent conduct in the sale of securities, persistent fraud in the conduct of business and 720 breaches of fiduciary duty.

Merkin's clients included several prominent charities.