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Bernie Madoff, Ponzi Schemer, Dies in Prison at 82

Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff dies in federal prison at age 82.
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Bernie Madoff, the financier who pleaded guilty to orchestrating the largest Ponzi scheme in history, died in a federal prison at 82 years old.

Madoff was serving a 150-year prison sentence in Bunter, North Carolina, where he was being treated for what his attorney called terminal kidney disease.

On March 12, 2009, Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 federal felonies, including wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering, making false statements, perjury, theft from an employee benefit plan and making false filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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He reportedly defrauded as many as 37,000 people in 136 countries over four decades.

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His investors included Fred Wilpon, majority owner of the New York Mets; husband-and-wife actors Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick; Henry Kaufman, former chief economist at Salomon Brothers; Boston philanthropist Carl Shapiro; charitable foundations of director Steven Spielberg and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel; and New York and Yeshiva universities.

Madoff apologized to his victims, saying, “I have left a legacy of shame, as some of my victims have pointed out, to my family and my grandchildren. This is something I will live in for the rest of my life. I'm sorry.”

On June 29, 2009, Madoff was sentenced to the maximum sentence of 150 years in federal prison.

Last year, Madoff sought compassionate release from prison, claiming he has terminal kidney failure.

In July 2019, Madoff first petitioned then-President Donald Trump for a reduction in his sentence. Rather than asking for a pardon, he asked requested clemency from Trump in the form of a sentence commutation or reduction.