Ponzi Mastermind, Bernie Madoff died in Prison at the age of 82

Bernie Madoff, the Wall Street financier, who masterminded the largest Ponzi scheme in history and defrauded thousands of investors of billions of dollars, has died at the age of 82 in prison.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons confirmed that Madoff died on Wednesday, April 14, at the Federal Medical Center in Butner, North Carolina.

The bureau did not specify a cause of death, saying in a statement that the cause will be determined by a medical examiner.

Madoff was serving a 150-year sentence at the prison, where he had been treated for what his attorney called terminal kidney disease.

A Ponzi Mastermind
Deal of the day
Madoff’s death comes about 12 years into a 150-year prison sentence stemming from fraud charges that milked thousands of investors out of an estimated $65 billion in promised returns on $20 billion invested over the years.

He defrauded as many as 37,000 people in 136 countries over four decades before he was busted on Dec. 11, 2008, after his two sons turned him in.

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On March 12, 2009, Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 federal crimes and admitted to operating the largest private Ponzi scheme in history.

He was sentenced three months later to the maximum sentence: 150 years in prison with restitution of $170 billion.

His victims included the famous director Steven Spielberg, actor Kevin Bacon, former New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon, Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Weisel and ordinary investors, like Burt Ross, who lost $5 million in the scheme.

In court, he insisted that it was all his idea that his family knew nothing about the scheme even though his wife, Ruth, had once kept the books, his sons were senior officers, and his younger brother, Peter, was chief compliance officer.

In a 2013 email to CNBC from prison, Madoff insisted that he began legitimately but that he started committing fraud in the early 1990s after the Gulf War caused the market to stall.

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“I thought this would be only a short-term trade which could be made up once the market became receptive,” he wrote.

“The rest is my tragic history of never being able to recover.”

It ran smoothly until the financial crash of 2008 when suddenly, all of his clients started asking for redemption at once.


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