Bernie Madoff, the man behind the nation's largest Ponzi scheme, died in prison at the age of 82. Madoff fleeced tens of thousands of clients out of as much as $65 billion over four decades.
He started his scheme in the 1970s and managed to scam 37,000 people in 136 countries before he was busted in 2008. Some of his victims were regular investors, but he also managed to defraud some big names, including Steven Spielberg, Kevin Bacon, and Fred Wilpon, the former owner of the New York Mets.
When the economy crashed in 2008, Madoff realized he was unable to repay his clients and told his two sons about the massive Ponzi scheme he had built. Instead of working with him to wind down the fraudulent company, they reported him to the FBI, and he was taken into custody.
He pleaded guilty to 11 federal crimes and was sentenced to 150 years behind bars, and ordered to pay $170 billion in restitution to his victims. A court-appointed trustee has recovered nearly $14 billion for the investors who were duped by Madoff.
Madoff was serving his prison sentence at the Federal Medical Center in Butner, North Carolina. He was suffering from terminal kidney disease and died of natural causes.
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