Madoff Scam Lingers Six Years Later

Dec 11 2014 | 11:00am ET

One of the largest financial frauds in history fell apart six years ago today—and its repercussions continue to be felt.

Bernard Madoff was arrested on Dec. 11, 2008, two days after he confessed his crimes to his sons, who turned him in to the authorities. The scam that so ended proved to be a decades-long $65 billion Ponzi scheme that struck fear into investors—even those who weren’t among its tens of thousands of victims.

To date, the court-appointed trustee in the case has collected just over $10 billion of the estimated $17 billion in principal lost in the fraud. Some 15 people—including Madoff’s brother, Peter—have been charged in the case, the most recent just last September. Four Madoff lieutenants, convicted of aiding the fraud in March, were sentenced this week to prison terms ranging from two-and-a-half years to 10 years.

A fifth aide will be sentenced on Monday.

Madoff himself is serving a 150-year sentence; his brother 10. None of Madoff’s other family members were ever charged with any criminal wrongdoing, although prosecutors investigated his sons and niece, all of whom worked at the firm. Since his guilty plea a few months after his arrest, both of Madoff’s sons have died, one by his own hand four years ago today, the other a victim of cancer earlier this year.


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