Bernie Madoff, author of the largest financial fraud in history, worth tens of billions of dollars, died at the age of 82 in a North Carolina prison where he was serving a 150-year prison sentence.
The hierarchical fraud – “à la Ponzi” – of this New York financial figure, unveiled in December 2008, is to dig into the deposits of its new clients to compensate or compensate older investors.
A spokesman for Butner Prison, located in North North Carolina, confirmed the death, which was announced by several US media, but declined to disclose the cause of death.
In 2020, Bernie Madoff Request for his early release on medical groundsThat was rejected him in June. He said he was terminally ill with kidney disease and had only 18 months to live.
Bernard Madoff hails from a modest Jewish family in Queens, New York, and founded a brokerage firm while still at university in the late 1950s.
It has embodied a new generation of more modern financiers who have benefited from the development of information technology.
Becoming a Wall Street figure, he offered, in addition to brokerage services (buying and selling of securities on behalf of clients), an investment vehicle, which quickly became successful.
A growing number of institutional investors, as well as high net worth individuals, have entrusted her with billions of dollars in management, seduced by the promise of high and above all stable returns, in the unpredictable world of finance by definition.
The sums demanded by investors who took legal action after the scandal was resolved amounted to more than $ 17 billion. Including the profits promoted by Bernie Madoff, which turned out to be hypothetical, losses amounted to $ 65 billion.
A recovery fund that aims to compensate victims of this unprecedented fraud has so far paid nearly $ 2.7 billion.
Decades of Impunity
Before the scandal, many observers and investors had regularly voiced doubts about the methods of Bernie Madoff, who had instilled secrecy about his investment strategy. But despite these reports, over several decades, the US stock market policeman, the Securities and Exchange Commission, never worried the funder.
Others, like JPMorgan Chase, which imposed a $ 2.6 billion fine in 2014 to exempt themselves from prosecution, will later be accused of silencing their suspicions as they quietly withdraw their money.
Bernard Madoff, a wise little man with silver hair, has built a dual image of the pioneer of finance, shaking the established order, and the figure of the foundation, which frequents the private circles popular with the elite in New York.
It took the financial crisis of 2008 to expose the scandal. Suddenly, Bernie Madoff finds himself faced with multiple requests for massive withdrawals, while deposits became scarce. Suddenly the system collapsed like a house of cards.
Several financial institutions and high net worth clients found themselves trapped, including American actor Kevin Bacon, writer Elie Wiesel or director Steven Spielberg, who lost several million dollars.
Thierry de la Feliucci, a New York-based French financier who put nearly $ 1.4 billion into clients such as Lillian Bettencourt with Bernie Madoff, committed suicide in his Manhattan office at the end of December 2008.
On the day of his conviction, at the end of June 2009, Bernie Madoff expressed his regret, admitting that he had caused “a lot of pain and suffering” around him. “I leave shame as a legacy for my family and grandchildren.”