Bernie Madoff, financier behind world's biggest Ponzi scheme, dies in prison

Article Image Bernie Madoff Mastermind of Biggest Ponzi Scheme in History Dead at 82

Bernie Madoff, sentenced to 150 years in United States federal prison, has died at the age of 82.

Bernie Madoff, the financier who pleaded guilty to orchestrating the largest Ponzi scheme in history, has died in a United States prison.

Bernie Madoff, former American investor and fraudster, died Wednesday at Butner FCI federal prison due to natural causes, a spokesman for the Manhattan U.S. Attorney's Office confirmed to Fox News.

Madoff was jailed in 2009 for overseeing a scam that hit many thousands of clients, whose statements told them that their investments were worth nearly $65 billion in total. Their losses were recently estimated at between $17 billion and $20 billion. In that filing, his lawyer claimed that Madoff has "18 months to live" and was suffering from cardiovascular disease and hypertension.

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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 told the judge at his plea hearing. At the time of his death, he had served about 10 years of his 150-year sentence.

It was not just the elite and large firms who were victims of the fraud. So, you know, I've served.

Madoff's fraud was revealed during the financial crisis in 2008, when he was unable to satisfy growing client demands to withdraw their investments, and many lost their savings or were unable to retire.

USA authorities have seized about $4 billion related to Madoff and aim to return it to tens of thousands of his victims around the world.

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