Giant ponzi scheme mastermind Bernie Maddof is dead

In Summary

• The death was announced by the Bureau of Prisons.

• Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison in 2009 after he admitted he had defrauded investors through a Ponzi scheme, which paid out using their money rather than any profits.

Bernie Madoff.
Bernie Madoff.
Image: BBC

Disgraced financier Bernie Madoff, who was convicted for conning investors out of billions of dollars, has died in prison at age 82.

The death was announced by the Bureau of Prisons.

Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison in 2009 after he admitted he had defrauded investors through a Ponzi scheme, which paid out using their money rather than any profits.

It collapsed during the financial crisis of 2008.

Who was Bernie Madoff?

Madoff started his financial career aged 22 with $5,000 from money made from summer holiday jobs such as working as a garden sprinkler installer in New York.

He then set up Bernard L Madoff Investment Securities in 1960.

His firm became one of the largest market-makers - matching buyers and sellers of stocks - and Mr Madoff served as chairman of the Nasdaq stock exchange.

The firm was investigated eight times by the US Securities and Exchange Commission because it made exceptional returns.

But it was the global recession which effectively prompted Madoff's demise as investors, hit by the downturn, tried to withdraw about $7bn from his funds and he could not find the money to cover it.

The list of Madoff's victims includes film director Steven Spielberg's charitable foundation, Wunderkinder.

UK banks were also among the victims with HSBC Holdings saying it had exposure of around $1bn. Other corporate victims were Royal Bank of Scotland and Man Group and Japan's Nomura Holdings.

But it is not just the elite and large firms who were victims of the fraud.

School teachers, farmers, mechanics and many others have also lost money.