Disgraced financier Bernard Madoff arrived Tuesday at a federal prison in North Carolina to begin serving a 150-year sentence for what is believed to be the largest Ponzi scheme in history.
Federal Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman Linda Thomas said Madoff arrived at the Butner, N.C., facility after leaving federal jail in New York City on Monday.
Madoff has a projected release date of November 14, 2139, assuming he gets early release credit for good behavior while in prison. He is listed in Bureau of Prisons records as prisoner number 61727-054.
The 71-year-old Madoff pleaded guilty in March to charges that his investment advisory business was a multibillion-dollar scheme that wiped out thousands of investors and ruined charities.
Ponzi schemes are nothing new, but Madoff’s was stunning for its size and duration. In a Ponzi scheme, early investors are paid by diverting money from new investors. When the flow of new money dries up, the scheme collapses and the fraud is exposed.
Authorities said Madoff had carried out the fraud for at least two decades before confessing to his sons in December that his investment business was a fraud and that he had lost as much as $50 billion.
The Butner Federal Correctional Complex, located about 45 miles northwest of Raleigh, includes two medium-security facilities, a low-security facility and a hospital, according to the Bureau of Prisons Web site. Within the federal prison system, it is perhaps best known for its hospital facility to treat elderly or ill prisoners.
Among the well-known criminals being held at Butner are:
- John Rigas, founder of Adelphia Communications, and his son, Tim, the company’s chief financial officer. They were convicted on multiple charges of securities fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud and bank fraud.
- Jonathan Pollard, the American convicted of spying for Israel more than two decades ago.
- Omar Abdel-Rahman, also known as the blind sheik, who was sentenced to life in prison in 1995 for his role in a plot to kill Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and blow up New York City landmarks, including the United Nations. He was sentenced to life in prison in 1995 and moved to Butner in 2007.