Notorious Ponzi Schemer Bernie Madoff Dies In Prison At Age 82

Apr. 14 2021, Updated 10:54 a.m. ET

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Infamous Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff has died at 82 on Wednesday, April 14, from natural causes.

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Madoff, who operated the largest private Ponzi scheme in history, died at the secure federal medical center in Butner, N.C. — where he was serving out his 150-year prison sentence after being arrested in 2008 — according to prison officials. 

The investment advisor, who would've turned 83 on April 29, was suffering from end-age kidney disease and other chronic ailments, The Associated Press reported. 

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Source: US Department of Justice

Madoff fell from grace when his scheme was brought to light in the late 2000s amid the global financial crisis. At the time, he reportedly admitted to his son that his business was just "one big lie."

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From A-list celebrities to retirees who entrusted him, his $65 billion scheme affected more than 37,000 victims in 136 countries, including charities and foundations. 

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Madoff's scandalous rip-off was also tied to at least four suicides, New York Post reported, including eldest son Mark — who hanged himself on the second anniversary of his father's arrest after leaving a ruthless letter behind. 

“Bernie, now you know how you have destroyed the lives of your sons by your life of deceit. F**k you,” the 48-year-old wrote at the time.

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His younger son, Andrew, also blamed his father for the recurrence of his rare cancer, mantle-cell lymphoma, which he died from in 2014. He was also 48.

“One way to think of this is the scandal and everything that happened killed my brother very quickly. And it’s killing me slowly,” he told PEOPLE before he died. "Even on my deathbed, I will never forgive him for what he did."

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Once his scheme unraveled, Madoff became so hated that he had to wear a bulletproof vest to court due to the angry protests outside the Manhattan federal courthouse.

Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 federal felonies in March 2009, saying he was "deeply sorry and ashamed."

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"When I began the Ponzi scheme I believed it would end shortly and I would be able to extricate myself and my clients from this scheme," Madoff said during his plea hearing. "However, this proved difficult, and ultimately impossible, and as the years went by I realized that my arrest and this day would eventually come."

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Federal judge Denny Chin gave him the maximum sentence of 150 years, stating that his crime showed "extraordinary evil" and "took a staggering human toll."

Madoff's attorneys attempted to get him out of prison last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, crediting his multiple health issues as why he needed to be released. His request was denied.

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