When Bernie Madoff was sentenced to a 150-year prison sentence, it was obvious he would die while incarcerated, and Wednesday the person who was the leader of the biggest investment fraud in U.S. history died at the age of 82.
According to Madoff’s attorney, he was being treated for terminal kidney failure while serving his sentence at the federal medical care center in Butner, North Carolina.
Madoff masterminded the decades-long Ponzi scheme that all told swindled 65 billion from thousands of clients.
The gig was up in late 2008, and the subsequent fallout resulted in one of his sons committing suicide. Another son died of cancer.
Madoff pled guilty in 2009 to a scheme that was believed to have started in the early 1970’s. Up to 37,000 people were affected or lost money in the scam including well known people like Steven Spielberg, Kevin Bacon and Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax.
Madoff told CNBC in an email that the Ponzi scheme actually didn’t start until the 1990’s. “I thought this would be only a short-term trade which could be made up once the market became receptive. The rest is my tragic history of never being able to recover.”
Madoff attempted to get out of prison last year, when he requested a compassionate release, telling a court he only had a few months to live. The judge shot the request down, justifying his action by saying Madoff committed “one of the most egregious financial crimes of all time.”
That he most certainly did, but he was an exceptionally skilled con man, an for almost half a century he was a power player on Wall Street, who founded his own firm at the age of 22.
In 1990, Madoff was actually the non executive chairman of the Nasdaq, and played a big role in modernizing trading.
The financial crisis of 2008 exposed the shell game Madoff was running, and he along with 14 other people eventually were arrested and convicted of federal crimes.