Bernie Madoff: Fraudster who swindled clients out of billions dies in US prison


The former financier passed away from natural causes in North Carolina’s Federal Medical Centre. In 2009 he was sentenced to prison for 150 years after defrauding investments from thousands of clients to make billions of dollars.

Mr Madoff used his company, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, to set up the largest Ponzi scheme in history.

Rather than making trades for clients as advertised he used money from new investors to pay off older ones.

An estimated 37,000 people across the world, including charitable foundations, were hit.

Mr Madoff was arrested in 2008 and pleaded guilty to multiple fraud charges in 2009.

Of the $17.5bn (£12.7billion) invested only $13billion (£9.4billion) was ever recovered.

Mr Madoff’s legal team tried to get him released from prison last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

They reported their client was suffering from end-stage kidney disease and other serious conditions.

However the request was denied by prison authorities.

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Addressing the hearing one of his investors claimed the financier had “no values”.

They added: “He stole from the rich. He stole from the poor. He stole from the in-between.

“He cheated his victims out of their money so he and his wife could live a life of luxury beyond belief.”

Mr Madoff founded Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC in the 1960s as a penny stock trader.

The firm was incorporated as a limited liability company in 2001 though Mr Madoff remained the only shareholder.

In 2008 the company was Wall Street’s sixth-largest market maker.

After his arrest the financier apologised to his victims commenting: “I have left a legacy of shame, as some of my victims pointed out, to my family and my grandchildren.

“This was something I will live in for the rest of my life. I’m sorry.”

However Judge Chin said: “I have a sense Mr Madoff has not done all that he could do or told all that he knows.”

After his conviction Mr Madoff’s wife released a statement expressing her disgust.

She said: “I am breaking my silence now because my reluctance to speak has been interpreted as indifference or lack of sympathy for the victims of my husband Bernie’s crime, which was exactly the opposite of the truth.

“I am embarrassed and ashamed. Like everyone else, I feel betrayed and confused.”


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