Alleged Ponzi-scheme mastermind Bernard Madoff arrives in Manhattan federal court on Thursday in New York. ((Louis Lanzano/Associated Press))

Bernard Madoff — accused of defrauding people out of billions of dollars — was ordered into jail on Thursday after he pleaded guilty Thursday to 11 charges, including fraud, in a court in Lower Manhattan.

U.S. District Judge Denny Chin accepted Madoff's guilty plea, and set June 16 as a sentencing date. Chin revoked the bail of Madoff, who was escorted out of the courtroom.

A former chairman of the Nasdaq stock exchange, Madoff faced charges of money laundering, perjury, and securities, mail and wire fraud.

He could now face a prison term of up to 150 years under U.S. federal sentencing guidelines.

"I am actually grateful for this opportunity to publicly comment about my crimes, for which I am deeply sorry and ashamed," Madoff said to the court before he was taken in custody.

Madoff, 70, was accused of swindling thousands of investors, some of them quite high profile, in a Ponzi scheme — a pyramid fraud in which earlier investors are paid with the money of new clients.

Madoff said he started the scheme in the 1990s in response to the last recession in the United States. He told the court he believed it would be short and that he would be able to get himself out of it.

"As the years went by, I realized my risk, and this day would inevitably come," he said. "I cannot adequately express how sorry I am for my crimes."

Madoff had been confined to his Manhattan penthouse apartment since December 2008 as part of his $10-million US bail. 

With files from Associated Press