Madoff was arrested in December 2008 for swindling thousands of clients out of close to $65 billion

By Megan Henney FOX Business

Bernie Madoff, the notorious architect of the biggest investment fraud in U.S. history, has died at age 82.

Madoff was serving a 150-year sentence at the federal medical care center in Butner, North Carolina, where his attorney said he was being treated for terminal kidney failure. Last year, Madoff’s attorney filed court papers seeking the 82-year-old’s release during the coronavirus pandemic, saying he suffered from end-stage renal disease. The request was denied.   

His death is believed to be from natural causes, a spokesman for the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office, Nick Biase, told FOX Business. 

A decades-long force on Wall Street, Madoff shocked the world when he pleaded guilty in 2009 to running a vast Ponzi scheme that prosecutors said swindled thousands out of their life savings.

The scheme began in the early 1970s, and by the time Madoff was arrested in December 2008, had defrauded as many as 37,000 people in 136 countries out of up to $65 billion.

His victims included the famous – film director Steven Spielberg, actor Kevin Bacon and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Weisel – as well as ordinary investors. 

FILE – Disgraced financier Bernard Madoff leaves U.S. District Court in Manhattan after a bail hearing in New York, Monday, Jan. 5, 2009.
Madoff, the financier who pleaded guilty to orchestrating the largest Ponzi scheme in history, died early Wednes

Prior to his downfall, Madoff was viewed as a self-made and respected figure among financial professionals as the head of the seemingly successful Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities firm.

He also served as the chairman of the Nasdaq Stock Market in 1990, 1991 and 1993. 

NEW YORK – JANUARY 5: Bernard Madoff (C) walks out from Federal Court after a bail hearing in Manhattan January 5, 2009 in New York City.
Madoff is accused of running a $50 billion Ponzi scheme through his investment company. Madoff is free on bail a

In addition to being sentenced to the maximum 150 years in prison, Madoff and his family took a major financial hit: A judge issued a $171 billion forfeiture order in June 2009 requiring the disgraced financier to give up his interests in all property, including real estate, investments, car and boats.

Under the arrangement, the government also obtained his wife’s interest in all property, including $80 million that she claimed belonged to her, leaving Ruth Maddoff with $2.5 million in assets. 

The decline and fall of Madoff also took a toll on his family. 

The oldest of his two sons, Mark Madoff, died by suicide on the second anniversary of his father’s arrest in 2010. His other son, Andrew, died from cancer at age 48 in 2014.   

Mark Madoff’s suicide prompted his mother, Ruth Madoff, to cut off all communications with her husband. 

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