Madoff was serving his term at the medium-security Butner Federal Correctional Complex in North Carolina and was slated for release on November 14, 2139.
The Madoff scandal has made headlines for years, but there is still a lot that people don’t know about the biggest Ponzi scheme in history.
1. Madoff’s victims are close to getting their money back.
That includes the almost $850 million in cash advances to victims that were provided by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation.
The latest distribution in February 2021 gave each customer approximately 70% of their allowed claim amount, unless it was already fully satisfied.
Most of the money Picard’s lawyers have collected came through settlements with former investors who withdrew more from Madoff’s firm than they deposited. Even though many of these investors claim to have known nothing of the Ponzi scheme, the trustee is suing them for benefiting from it.
2. Even now, nobody knows when Madoff’s scheme started
Madoff’s former account manager, Frank DiPascali, Jr., said in court testimony that financial misdeeds had been going on “for as long as I remember.” He started working at the firm in 1975.
3. Madoff didn’t actually steal $65 billion.
His Ponzi scheme is often referred to as a $65 billion crime. In fact, he actually stole $20 billion in principal funds that were invested with him. His firm generated account statements telling investors that they earned returns worth a total of $65 billion, but those returns never existed. So as far as the people who’d entrusted their life savings with Madoff were concerned, they really did lose $65 billion — it’s just that two-thirds of that money was a figment of Bernie’s imagination.
4. Lawyers have pocketed about $800 million cleaning up Madoff’s mess.
5. Life in prison isn’t so bad, said Madoff. But he still can’t sleep.
“I was responsible for my son Mark’s death and that’s very, very difficult,” he said. “I live with that.”
In 2020, Madoff petitioned the court for early release because of his medical condition. That was opposed by prosecutors and rejected by the judge who originally sentenced him to 150 years.
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