Bernie Madoff, Fraudster Convicted of Largest-Ever Ponzi Scheme, Dies in Prison at 82

Bernie Madoff
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Upon hearing of his death, one of Madoff's victims tells Inside Edition, "There’s one less thief in the world."

Bernie Madoff, the notorious man behind the largest ponzi scheme in history, has died of natural causes in prison in North Carolina. He was 82.

In 2009, Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison after pleading guilty to the scheme that saw more than $60 billion on paper vanish overnight, with thousands of victims losing their promised fortunes.

One of those victims, Maureen Ebel, was once a wealthy socialite — until she lost $5 million to Madoff’s con. Her cushy life was upended overnight and she began working as a housekeeper to make ends meet.

Inside Edition caught up with Ebel Wednesday. “I felt like, well, there’s one less thief in the world,” Ebel said of the news. 

Madoff’s own downfall was Shakespearean. One son died of cancer. His other son, unable to deal with the family shame, took his own life.

His wife, Ruth Madoff, now lives in a waterfront neighborhood outside Greenwich, Connecticut. Inside Edition tried to make contact with her Wednesday at the home, but she wasn’t available for comment.

A ponzi scheme is a type of investment fraud that works by using funds from new investors to pay earlier investors, according to the SEC. They require a constant flow of new money to survive and often collapse when it becomes more difficult to recruit new investors or when existing investors cash out.

After Madoff’s conviction, investigators were able to return $13 billion of investors' original capital. Although most thought that they had made much more in profits.

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