The notorious securities scammer Bernard Madoff has died in a North Carolina prison where he was serving a 150-year prison sentence for swindling thousands in the biggest fraud in Wall Street history.
Madoff, who was 82, pleaded guilty in 2009 to running the biggest Ponzi scheme in history. Prison officials confirmed yesterday, that Madoff had passed away from natural causes related to his deteriorating health. A real estate collector, Madoff owned prestigious properties like the New York co-op where he was arrested by federal agents. That property recently brought $14.5 million. Most of his properties were seized in order to be sold to make restitution to his investors. Architectural Digest has just published a look at some of his more famous properties.
The founder of a stock brokerage back in 1960, created what was considered for a time an investment leviathan. However, later revelations confirmed the monumental level of fraud Madoff was running, which took as much as $65 billion from unsuspecting investors. Ironically, Madoff was one of the people behind the launch of Nasdaq, the first electronic stock exchange. At a point, he was an advisor to the Securities and Exchange Commission on the system.
Madoff leveraged his intellect, good personality, and gained respect to reap fabulous wealth from investors. After his imprisonment, the famous con artist faded from view some years back, but the impact of his schemes continue to affect the investment world. At the time of his sentencing U.S. District Judge Denny Chin offered this [AP] before giving Madoff the maximum under the law:
“Here, the message must be sent that Mr. Madoff’s crimes were extraordinarily evil and that this kind of irresponsible manipulation of the system is not merely a bloodless financial crime that takes place just on paper, but it is instead ... one that takes a staggering human toll.”
Born in 1938 in a Jewish neighborhood in Queens, Madoff first became a legend for his meteoric rise to riches, and later a notorious villain for anyone able to read about his swindles. Over 15,000 claims were made against Madoff’s companies, over trades that were never even made by the financier. Madoff is survived by his wife Ruth.