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Madoff says banks had to know of fraud

WASHINGTON, Feb 16 – Wall Street fraudster Bernard Madoff told The New York Times in a prison interview that unidentified banks and hedge funds were somehow "complicit" in his massive Ponzi scheme.

"They had to know," Madoff said in story posted on the newspaper\’s website Tuesday evening.

"But the attitude was sort of \’If you\’re doing something wrong, we don\’t want to know.\’"

Madoff, who touted himself as one of New York\’s most successful money managers, was arrested in late 2008 and sentenced in June 2009 to 150 years in prison.

His victims, including charities, major banks, Hollywood moguls and savvy financial players, handed him tens of billions of dollars over more than two decades.

Madoff\’s right hand man, Frank DiPascali, and his accountant, David Friehling, have since pleaded guilty in an investigation that has yet to fully unravel the crime or compensate the approximately 16,000 direct victims.

Even the amount of money stolen remains elusive: Madoff originally claimed to have been managing $65 billion, but in October, the court-appointed liquidator said the real bottom line was $21.2 billion in cash losses.

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