NEWARK - Peter Madoff, brother of Bernard Madoff, is the subject of a US criminal investigation, his lawyer said in a civil lawsuit over losses by the charitable foundation of US Senator Frank Lautenberg.
Bernard Madoff is serving a 150-year prison term for running a Ponzi scheme. His brother, who was chief compliance officer at Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, has not been charged by the US Attorney’s Office in New York. That could change, his lawyer said in court papers filed Tuesday in the Lautenberg case.
“The USAO has informed us that Peter Madoff is a subject of its criminal investigation,’’ attorney Charles Spada wrote to US Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo in Newark.
The foundation sued Peter Madoff claiming he hid or disregarded the fraud. Foundation lawyer Ronald Riccio on Nov. 12 deposed Madoff, who invoked his right against self-incrimination more than 250 times.
Riccio Tuesday asked Arleo to impose a contempt sanction because Madoff improperly invoked his Fifth Amendment privilege on a blanket basis to such questions as “Are you Bernard Madoff’s brother?’’
Spada urged Arleo to deny the request.
“Given the circumstances and intensity of the criminal investigation, one can hardly question Defendant’s constitutional right not to answer questions,’’ Spada wrote.