7:26 AM PT -- Madoff's attorney, Brandon Sample, tells TMZ ... "Last year Bernie Madoff asked his sentencing court to grant him compassionate release so he could die at home with his remaining friends and family. At the time, Bernie had a life expectancy of less than 18 months. Bernie’s sentencing judge denied that request, despite Bernie’s terminal kidney disease and expressed remorse for his crimes."
He adds, "Today, Bernie Madoff passed away at the age of 82. Bernie, up until his death, lived with guilt and remorse for his crimes. Although the crimes Bernie was convicted of have come to define who he was—he was also a father and a husband. He was soft spoken and an intellectual. Bernie was by no means perfect. But no man is."
Bernie Madoff -- the one-time Wall Street financial adviser turned massive convicted fraudster -- died in prison ... TMZ has confirmed.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons -- the agency that oversaw Madoff while behind bars -- says he passed Wednesday while in custody at a federal facility in North Carolina. Federal law enforcement sources confirm Madoff died of natural causes and said it was not covid-19 related.
The man had been serving a 150-year sentence following his 2009 criminal case and subsequent conviction. Last year, he'd complained of health issues that he claimed were costing him his life ... specifically, Madoff said he was experiencing terminal kidney failure.
A judge shot down Madoff's request to be sprung from prison early, even under compassionate release grounds that Madoff was trying to invoke in his filing.
Of course, his lifetime sentence was imposed after a long-running Ponzi scheme he'd been operating for years finally came to light in late 2008 ... this after he'd lost billions of dollars from investors he'd swindled over several years, and the feds caught wind of the operation.
The scheme itself is quite complex -- but it essentially boiled down to Madoff taking cash (A LOT of it, BTW) from thousands of investors, via his securities firm, and depositing that money into a bank account ... which he ultimately used to pay off other investors.
He passed his investment strategy off as legit, and on the surface ... appeared to be making steady gains. But, upon a deeper dive, it was clear Madoff's numbers just weren't adding up -- something he was able to cloak for quite a long time ... that is, until the 2008 market downturn, which bulldozed his house of cards -- as he simply didn't have the funds a lot of his partners were asking for (and assuming he had at the ready). Many people who trusted Madoff lost their life savings.
Madoff ended up pleading guilty to 11 federal felony counts -- including securities fraud, wire fraud and a whole lot more ... but the fact he played ball from the outset didn't help him much in the way of leniency. He got the book thrown at him with a massive sentence, plus a requirement to forfeit billions of dollars in assets he and his family held.
The Madoff Victim Fund was established not too long after his conviction -- and has racked up just a fraction of the money owed to investors, less than $3 billion among tens of thousands of investors.
Madoff's downfall has been depicted and covered in countless TV shows, movies and documentaries -- but most recently, a full-blown TV biopic of sorts was made with Robert De Niro playing Madoff, which was dubbed "Wizard of Lies." It premiered on HBO in 2017.