Disgraced US financier Bernard Madoff has been denied bail while he awaits sentencing for masterminding a $50 billion (£35bn) investment fraud. Last week, Madoff, 70, pleaded guilty to all 11 charges against him when he appeared in a New York court.
Madoff was then remanded in custody, but his lawyers contested the decision and said he should be released on bail. However, the appeals court said on Friday that Madoff could flee and should remain in jail until sentencing on 16 June. Madoff faces a sentence of up to 150 years.
Prosecutors are investigating if others were involved in the crime. Madoff has always insisted he acted alone in masterminding the Ponzi scheme, whereby early investors were paid off with the money injected by new clients. However, his claim has few buyers.
On Wednesday, prosecutors charged Madoff's long-term accountant, David Friehling, with fraud. Friehling was not however accused of knowing or being part of Madoff's scheme.
Prosecutors are also trying to seize $100 million of property and assets, including homes, cars and boats in France, belonging to Madoff and his family.
The government yesterday released piles of heartrending letters from Madoff's victims, which show their intense despair and anger with the confessed swindler and his family as well as their frustration with authorities for not exposing his fraud sooner.
The letters were sent to US District Judge Denny Chin in Manhattan before Madoff pleaded guilty last week to committing the largest investment fraud in Wall Street's history.
Richard Shapiro of California wrote that he had lost 30 pounds of weight due to stress and couldn't leave his home for three weeks after the financier's arrest on 11 December.
''Today we live in fear, mistrust, and are captive to the hope that the federal government will provide some relief to us for their failure to properly regulate, and do their job,'' Californian Shapiro said in his letter. ''We are emotionally forever damaged.''
He added that he and his family are selling their home, cutting all discretionary expenses, "and I am working seven days a week to just stay afloat."
"The wife's assets should be seized for victims' restitution, and she should be made to spend the rest of her life playing bingo and eating in a soup kitchen," another writer said.
The child of an 87-year-old Alzheimer's patient who lost life savings of $500,000 wrote, ''That money was for her to live out the rest of her life in comfort. She is very depressed and can't understand why this happened to her.''
A Florida couple that had invested $853,000 since 1992 said in their letter that their ''golden years'' had been taken from them, and they expressed doubt that employers would be interested in ''a guy with a gimpy leg and woman who has fought cancer''.