According to multiple media sources, Bernie Madoff has died at a federal prison in Butner, North Carolina. He was serving a 150-year sentence for his role in a Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors of as much as $65 billion over four decades.
Madoff started as a penny stock trader at 22 years old with $5,000 he saved up by working odd jobs.
Over the years, he made a name for himself on Wall Street. He became the chairman of the Nasdaq in 1990, led the charge to digitize the stock exchange, and introduced the now-controversial practice of payment for order flow.
According to a Seeking Alpha report, his broker-dealer business was wildly successful and “enjoyed at least a decade of outsized growth.”
However, Madoff, for whatever reason, continued to accept investors’ money for decades without ever investing it. He reported huge gains to the investors and managed to meet payout requests with other investors’ money.
Because of his noble standing and outsized returns, he never had a problem bringing in more investors.
But at the height of the great recession, Madoff was unable to meet investor requests for payouts.
According to the SEC, in 2008, Madoff admitted to two senior employees that he was “finished,” that “it’s all just one big lie,” and that it was “basically, a giant Ponzi scheme.”
In 2009 he pleaded guilty to federal charges and admitted he had “defrauded as many as 37,000 people in 136 countries over four decades,” according to a CNBC report. He was given the maximum sentence of 150 years.
In recent years Madoff was treated for end-stage renal disease. This morning, the AP reported Madoff died of natural causes.
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