Bernard Madoff

FILE PHOTO: Accused swindler Bernard Madoff exits the Manhattan federal court house in New York, U.S. on January 14, 2009.

Bernard Madoff is a former stock broker, investment advisor, non-executive chairman of the NASDAQ stock market, and the admitted operator of what has been called the largest Ponzi scheme in history.

In December 2008, Madoff was arrested by federal agents in Manhattan, and was charged with one account of securities fraud. It emerged that one of his sons turned him over to the authorities after Madoff admitted that he was running a massive fraud involving more than $50 billion. The Madoff scam has gone down as the largest Wall Street scam in history and has affect banks and businesses alike.

Madoff was born in New York in 1938 and began an investment career in 1960 when he established Madoff Securities. Known for his business’ reliable overturns, he quickly became a successful trader and by the 1980s his company became of one the largest trading firms.

With his success, Madoff became a prominent philanthropist and served on the boards of many non-profit institutions which trusted their assets with him. He and his family were known for donating to medical research facilities and to political groups.

By 2000, Madoff’s firm is said to have had over $300 million in assets and many Jewish non-profit organizations and charities had entrusted him with their money and organization’s finances. The individuals who invested – and lost - significant amounts with him include Steven Spielberg, Elie Wiesel, Larry King, and Sandy Koufax.

In March 2009, Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 federal offenses and in June 2009 was sentenced to 150 years in federal prison. His prison sentence is the equivalent of a life sentence and the possibility for parole has also been ruled out. Today, Madoff is incarcerated in the Federal Correctional Institution Butner Medium in North Carolina. His expected release date is set for 2139.