Bernard Madoff, mastermind of the biggest investment fraud in U.S. history, ripping off tens of thousands of clients of as much as $65 billion, died Wednesday. He was 82.
His death at the Federal Medical Center in Butner, North Carolina, was confirmed by the federal Bureau of Prisons.
Madoff died apparently from natural causes, the AP reported earlier, citing an unidentified person familiar with the matter. He would have turned 83 on April 29.
Madoff was serving a 150-year sentence at the prison, where he had been treated for what his attorney called terminal kidney disease. His request for compassionate release from prison was denied in June.
He pleaded guilty in 2009 to a scheme that investigators said started in the early 1970s
and defrauded more than 40,000 people in 125 countries over four
decades by the time Madoff was busted on Dec. 11, 2008 — after his two sons turned him in.
Victims included the famous — director Steven Spielberg, actor Kevin
Bacon, former New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon, Hall of Fame pitcher
Sandy Koufax and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Weisel — and ordinary
investors, like Burt Ross, who lost $5 million in the scheme.