Bernard Madoff will plead guilty to 11 charges in his financial fraud case and faces 150 years behind bars if convicted, his attorney said Tuesday.

The former NASDAQ chief is accused of bilking investors out of at least $50 billion in a Ponzi scheme.

Madoff, 70, intends to plead guilty to offenses including money laundering, perjury and securities, mail and wire fraud.

He appeared in court Tuesday in an attempt to clear his lawyer of any potential conflicts of interest. The judge ruled that he could retain the attorney, Ira Sorkin.

During Tuesday's court appearance, Sorkin announced his client's decision to plead guilty at a hearing scheduled for Thursday. Madoff won't be sentenced Thursday, however.

"I think that's a fair expectation," Sorkin told the judge when asked if Madoff would be pleading guilty in two days.

The conflict of interest matter arose because Sorkin once invested $18,860 with Madoff through a retirement account in the early 1990s.

Prosecutors also said Sorkin's parents had invested approximately $900,000 with Madoff to create trust accounts for the attorney's two sons.

They said Sorkin has told the government that he is a trustee of the sons' trust accounts but has never had a beneficial interest in the money.

Prosecutors said a potential conflict of interest could arise because Sorkin's loyalties might become divided between his sons and Madoff.

Hours before the hearing, Madoff was seen leaving his swank New York City apartment building under a large umbrella, even though it wasn't raining.

Madoff, who wears a bulletproof vest, was brought to the courthouse in lower Manhattan early for security reasons, to avoid any confrontations with any investors who might show up for the hearing.

At least 25 investors have indicated they'd like to speak at Thursday's plea hearing.

Madoff was arrested in December in the $50 billion fraud scheme and has been under house arrest.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.