Bernie Madoff

Bernie Madoff

Formal First Name
Bernard (Bernie)
4/29/1938 - present

Bernie Madoff is known for executing the largest Ponzi scheme in history. He defrauded thousands of investors out of tens of billions of dollars over at least 17 years. In 2009, Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 federal felony counts, including securities fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, perjury, and money laundering. He was sentenced to 150 years in prison and forced to forfeit $170 billion. He was also a pioneer in electronic trading and served as Chairman of the Nasdaq in the early 1990s.


  • 1960 - Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities is founded.
  • December 10, 2008 - 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 into 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.
  • March 12, 2009 - Madoff pleads guilty to eleven felony charges including money laundering, perjury, false filings with the SEC, and fraud.
  • 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.
  • July 14, 2009 - Madoff arrives at Butner Federal Correction Complex in North Carolina to begin serving his sentence.
  • 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.
  • June 4, 2011 - Final auction of personal property belonging to Madoff nets $500,000.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 fewer 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.