BERNIE Madoff, the mastermind behind the largest Ponzi scheme in history, died in federal prison.
In 2009, Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 federal felonies and admitted to turning his wealth management business into a massive Ponzi scheme
Who was Bernie Madoff?
Madoff, 82, was a former market maker, investment advisor and financier.
The 82-year-old was a former non-executive chairman of the NASDAQ stock market.
He was the mastermind behind the largest Ponzi scheme in world history, and the largest financial fraud in US history.
Prosecutors estimated the fraud to be worth $64.8billion based on the amounts in the accounts of Madoff's 4,800 clients as of November 2008.
Madoff admitted swindling thousands of clients out of billions of dollars in investments over decades.
A court-appointed trustee has recovered more than $13billion of an estimated $17.5billion that investors put into Madoff’s business.
At the time of his arrest, fake account statements were telling clients they had holdings worth $60billion.
For decades, Madoff enjoyed an image as a self-made financial guru whose Midas touch defied market fluctuations.
As a former chairman of the Nasdaq, he attracted a devoted legion of investment clients – from Florida retirees to celebrities such as famed film director Steven Spielberg, actor Kevin Bacon and Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax.
In 2008, his investment advisory business was exposed as a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme that wiped out people’s fortunes and ruined charities and foundations. He became so hated he had to wear a bulletproof vest to court.
Madoff said that he began the Ponzi scheme in the early 1990s, but federal investigators believe that the fraud began as early as the mid-1980s – and may have begun as far back as the 1970s.
He pleaded guilty in March 2009 to securities fraud and other charges, saying he was "deeply sorry and ashamed".
US District Judge Denny Chin showed no mercy, sentencing Madoff to the maximum 150 years in prison.
What was his cause of death?
Madoff died at the Federal Medical Center in Butner, North Carolina, apparently from natural causes, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press.
Both of Madoff’s sons have also died, Andrew died from cancer at age 48 and Mark from suicide at age 46 in 2010.
Madoff’s wife, Ruth, is still living.
How much money is Madoff estimated to have swindled?
The amount missing from clients accounts was almost $65billion, including fabricated gains.
The Securities Investor Protection Corporation trustee estimated actual losses to investors of $18 billion.
Madoff is reported to have defrauded as many as 37,000 people in 136 countries over four decades.
Madoff was busted on December 11, 2008 – after his two sons turned him in.
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