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CNN  — 

Here’s a look at the life of Bernard Madoff, who was convicted of running a multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme.


Birth date: April 29, 1938

Death date: April 14, 2021

Birth place: Queens, New York

Birth name: Bernard Lawrence Madoff

Father: Ralph Madoff

Mother: Sylvia (Muntner) Madoff

Marriage: Ruth (Alpern) Madoff (November 1959-April 14, 2021, his death)

Children: Andrew and Mark

Education: Hofstra University, B.A. Political Science, 1960

Other Facts

Started his firm with $5,000 he saved from working as a lifeguard.

Madoff served as NASDAQ’s chairman in 1990, 1991 and 1993.

Had many high-profile victims, including director Steven Spielberg, actors Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick, and New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon.

16,521 investors have filed claims against Madoff.


1960 - Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities is founded.

December 10, 2008 - Bernard Madoff allegedly confesses to employees of his company that the asset management portion of his firm is actually a large Ponzi scheme. Madoff says the business had lost about $50 billion and that he plans to turn himself in to authorities in a week.

December 11, 2008 - Madoff is arrested on one count of securities fraud for allegedly operating a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme from his investment advisory business. He is released on $10 million bail.

December 12, 2008 - A federal court in Manhattan issues a temporary order freezing Madoff’s assets and appointing a receiver over him and his firm.

December 17, 2008 - Madoff is placed on house arrest. Several bids by prosecutors to jail Madoff are denied by the court.

February 9, 2009 - The SEC and Madoff reach a partial settlement agreement. Under the terms of the deal, Madoff will keep a previously reached agreement to freeze his assets and not to violate any other securities laws. This is separate from the criminal charge Madoff faces.

March 12, 2009 - Madoff pleads guilty to eleven felony charges including: money laundering, perjury, false filings with the SEC and fraud. There is no deal with the government associated with the guilty plea.

March 20, 2009 - An appeals court rules that Madoff will remain in jail until sentencing.

April 1, 2009 - Federal marshals seize Madoff’s yacht, a smaller boat, and one of his homes in Florida as court-ordered seizures of the financier’s assets begin.

June 29, 2009 - Madoff is sentenced to 150 years in prison.

October 2, 2009 - A $199 million lawsuit is filed against Madoff’s sons, his brother Peter Madoff and his niece Shana Madoff, who all worked at Madoff’s firm.

December 11, 2010 - Madoff’s son, Mark Madoff, 46, commits suicide in his Manhattan apartment.

February 15, 2011 - In an interview from prison, Madoff tells the New York Times he felt that some banks and hedge funds “had to know.”

June 4, 2011 - Final auction of personal property belonging to Madoff nets $500,000. So far, the total recovery from the Madoffs has been approximately $24 million in property sales and $80 million in cash assets.

September 20, 2012 - Trustee Irving Picard announces that victims of Madoff’s Ponzi scheme will receive another $2.5 billion in reimbursement of their stolen funds. This brings the total amount returned to investors to $3.6 billion. Approximately half of the victims have been repaid.

January 22, 2014 - CNBC reports receiving an email from Madoff in which he says he had a heart attack in December of 2013 and that he has stage 4 kidney disease.

March 25, 2014 - Picard announces plans to pay out an additional $349 million to Madoff’s victims. Approximately $9.8 billion has been recovered so far.

September 3, 2014 - Son Andrew, Madoff’s last surviving child, dies of cancer at age 48.

February 2015 - Another $355 million in recovered funds is distributed to Madoff’s victims. Approximately $10.5 billion has been recovered so far.

February 1, 2016 - Trustees announce that more than $11.079 billion of the $17.5 billion in principal investment has been recovered to date.

November 9, 2017 - The US Department of Justice announces that it will begin distributing funds to Madoff’s victims. The money comes out of the Madoff Victim Fund, an account the US government put together in 2013 to assist investors in recovering their lost funds.

February 5, 2020 - In a court filing, Madoff asks a judge for compassionate release from prison. Madoff has terminal kidney failure and a life expectancy of less than 18 months, according to the filing.

March 4, 2020 - Federal prosecutors deny Madoff’s request to be released early, saying Madoff’s crime was “unprecedented in scope and magnitude.”

April 20, 2020 - The DOJ announces the fifth distribution of $378.5 million to more than 26,000 victims worldwide. This payment brings the total recovery of funds for victims to $2.7 billion, 73.65 % of their losses.

April 14, 2021 - Madoff dies at the Federal Medical Center in the prison in Butner, North Carolina, according to the US Bureau of Prisons.

February 17, 2022 - Madoff’s sister and her husband are found dead in an apparent murder-suicide, according to a news release from Florida police.