Report: Madoff Dying Of Cancer

Aug 24 2009 | 2:44pm ET

Nobody expected 71-year-old Bernard Madoff to serve every day of his 150 year sentence for running a $65 billion Ponzi scheme. But the fraudster may have had less to lose than originally thought when he pleaded guilty in March.

Madoff has cancer and has told his fellow inmates at a North Carolina federal prison that he hasn’t long to live, the New York Post reports. One fellow prisoner says he takes about 20 pills per day.

“He talks about it all the time,” the inmate told the tabloid. “He’s not doing very well.”

While a terminal diagnosis could explain Madoff’s decision to just plead guilty rather than making a deal with prosecutors, he’s not giving up, despite his much-reduced circumstances. He is participating in Native American “religious purification ceremonies” at the prison. Madoff, who gave generously to a variety of Jewish charities in his pre-prison days, is also joining the Native Americans’ weekly prayer service, going shirtless as is the custom.

Madoff is also making other new friends. He is hanging out with the “homosexual posse” at the prison—although the Post assures that the relationships are “purely platonic”—and is apparently a popular guy, much sought after by other “gangs” at the prison, who have sought to recruit him. Some prison are even cooking for him, the Post says, “trying to kiss his butt,” according to a source.

It’s not all fun and prayer for Madoff behind bars. He’s working, having recently been transferred from the engraving section to a fence-painting post.

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