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.
Bernard Madoff leaves federal court in New York on Tuesday, March 10, 2009.
Jin Lee | Bloomberg | Getty Images
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.
Madoff insisted the fraud did not begin until the early 1990s, when, he said, “the market stalled due to the onset of the recession and the Gulf War.”
In a 2013 email to CNBC from prison, Madoff claimed the break in…