Breaking news

Bernard Madoff, the American swindler, died in prison


His surname “Bernie” had become a household word.

The American swindler Bernard Madoff died on Wednesday, April 14, announced the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Aged 82 years, he was serving a sentence of one hundred and fifty years in prison.

He was convicted in 2009 for one of the most resounding cases of financial fraud in recent decades.

 A respected Wall Street financier, Bernard Madoff had embezzled 65 billion dollars (58.7 billion Euros) over a period of more than 15 years.

A fraud that has become so historic that this type of swindler is, since then, nicknamed a "Madoff".

Bernard Madoff died in prison

1. Pyramid scheme "à la Ponzi”

Bernard Madoff had been suffering for several years from various ailments, including kidney disease.

Madoff was detained in the federal penitentiary in Butner, North Carolina.

Discovered in December 2008, the pyramid scheme, known as "Ponzi",

That Bernard had set up consisted in dipping into the finances of his new clients to pay back or reimburse older investors.

The fraudulent scheme was very simple, as it promised double-digit annual rates of return by distributing "interest".

That was in fact taken from the capital brought in by new clients (huge investment).

2. Thousands of victims

Born into a modest family in New York in 1938, Bernard Madoff founded a brokerage firm while still in college in the late 1950s.

He embodied a new generation of financiers, more modern, who capitalized on the development of computers.

He became a Wall Street figure, offering, in addition to brokerage services (selling and buying securities on behalf of clients).;

An investment vehicle that quickly became a success.

A growing number of institutional investors, as well as wealthy individuals, entrusted him with billions of dollars under investment.

It seduced by the promise of a high and, above all, stable return, in a financial universe that is by definition unpredictable.

But the financier had never invested a single cent of the sums entrusted to him by his clients.

It is dipping into the funds of new investors to pay back or reimburse the older ones.

Among his thousands of victims, we can count the famous director Steven Spielberg.

The actor Kevin Becon, or the Nobel Prize-winning writer Elie Wiesel


Exposed by the outbreak of the global financial crisis in September 2008, Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme claimed thousands of victims.

Including private individuals, business, cultural and media figures, charities, pension funds and investment funds.

His fraud was believed to be the largest in Wall Street's history.

3. Former president of Nasdaq

The crooked financier was a Wall Street personality, having made his fortune there as a market maker in his own company founded in 1960.

It having served as non-executive chairman of Nasdaq.

His management company was headquartered in the Lipstick Building in Manhattan.

Only a handful of employees were aware of the fraudulent activities.


According to Bernard Madoff, the fraud began in the early 1990s.

But some victims and the prosecution at trial claimed that it began much earlier.

The money embezzled allowed Bernard Madoff and his wife to live lavishly, owning a Manhattan penthouse.

It is a villa in France, several yachts and luxury cars, with an estimated total fortune of $825 million.

No close family members appeared at his trial, and no relatives, friends or supporters provided exculpatory testimony.

When I started this problem, this crime, I thought it was something I could handle on my own, but it became impossible."

Madoff said at the hearing, the more I tried, the more I got into it myself. "Addressing the victims, he said, "I'm sorry.

I know this won't help you. "

Court-appointed trustees laboring to unwind the scheme have recovered more than $14 billion of an estimated $17.5 billion investors put into Madoff's business.

 At the time of Madoff's arrest, fake account statements were telling clients they had holdings worth $60 billion.

Madoff pleaded guilty in March 2009 to securities fraud and other charges, saying he was "deeply sorry and ashamed."

After several months living under house arrest at his $7 million Manhattan penthouse apartment.

He was led off to jail in handcuffs to scattered applause from angry investors in the courtroom.


"He stole from the rich. He stole from the poor. He stole from the in between.

He had no values," former investor Tom Fitzmaurice told the judge at the sentencing.

"He cheated his victims out of their money so he and his wife ... could live a life of luxury beyond belief."

Madoff's attorney in recent years, Brandon Sample said in a statement that…

The financier had "lived with guilt and remorse for his crimes" up until his death.

4. Sentenced to 150 years in prison

His house of cards collapsed in December 2008 (13 years ago) when a growing number of investors, panicked by the financial crisis, demanded their money back.

The sums claimed by investors who went to court after the scandal broke reached more than 17 billion dollars.

Including the profits claimed by Bernie Madoff, which turned out to be virtual, the losses amounted to $65 billion.

The recovery fund intended to compensate the victims of this unprecedented scam has paid out, so far, about 2.7 billion dollars. 

Follow us to receive all news