Bernie Madoff, Ponzi Scheme Mastermind Who Snared Hollywood Elite, Dies in Prison at 82

William Earl
·2-min read

Bernie Madoff, the disgraced investment advisor who was serving a 150-year prison sentence for running a Ponzi scheme and committing other financial crimes, died early Wednesday, the Associated Press reports. He was 82.

Madoff was notorious for leading one of the largest Ponzi schemes in history, which targeted scores of wealthy investors and celebrities, including Larry King, Kevin Bacon and John Malkovich. Madoff died from “natural causes” at the Federal Medical Center in Butner, N.C., a source told AP.

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The Wall Street con man bilked $65 billion from clients and pled guilty to 11 federal felonies in 2009. He was sentenced to 150 years in prison and to pay $170 billion in restitution to victims. At his sentencing, he admitted his wrongdoing, saying, “I am responsible for a great deal of suffering and pain. I understand that. I live in a tormented state now, knowing of all the pain and suffering that I have created.”

The story made him a punchline for Wall Street greed, and was retold in the 2017 HBO film “The Wizard of Lies,” with Robert De Niro playing Madoff. Richard Dreyfuss also portrayed the convicted schemer in the ABC miniseries “Madoff” in 2016.

Lead Madoff prosecutor Marc Litt reflected on Madoff’s death in an email to CNBC, writing, “It is unfortunately fitting that he died in jail. I think I speak for the team that prosecuted Mr. Madoff and his associates when I say that his passing closes a dark chapter of deception and greed that irretrievably damaged the lives of tens of thousands of victim. From start to finish, this episode has brought nothing but devastation to everyone he touched.”

Representatives for Federal Medical Center could not immediately be reached for comment.

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