Bernard Madoff, a former Roslyn resident who has spent the last 11 years serving a 150-year prison sentence, is asking a judge to release him due to terminal illnesses.
Madoff, 81, who organized the largest Ponzi scheme in American financial history and lost $18 billion for investors in his company Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, is requesting a “compassionate release” in order to die at home, citing kidney failure, a need for round-the-clock help and a life expectancy of less than two years.
The Washington Post reported that Madoff had applied for such a release through the First Step Act, passed in 2018, which expanded compassionate release for terminally ill prisoners over the age of 65.
Madoff has been held in a federal prison in Butler, N.C., since he pleaded guilty to 11 counts of financial crimes in 2009, among them fraud, money laundering, perjury and theft. The Post said he has been moved to palliative care within the facility.
In interviews with the Post, Madoff expressed remorse for his actions, which and said his dying wish is to salvage relationships with his grandchildren.
“I’m terminally ill,” Madoff told the Post. “There’s no cure for my type of disease. So, you know, I’ve served. I’ve served 11 years already, and, quite frankly, I’ve suffered through it.”
The Bureau of Prisons confirmed to the Post that Madoff has about 18 months to live, and that he had been diagnosed with “end-stage renal disease, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and hyperparathyroidism, among other ailments.”
Last year, the former financier applied for commutation of his sentence and clemency from the U.S. government. No response has been issued.
Madoff’s sons Andrew and Mark, who grew up in Roslyn and told the authorities about their father’s crimes in 2008, have both since died; Andrew in 2014 due to mantle cell lymphoma and Mark in 2010 through suicide by hanging. Their mother Ruth has mostly stayed out of the public eye since her husband’s sentence began.
“You know, I took a [plea]. I didn’t go to trial because I felt that I was, I was really the guilty one,” Madoff told the Post. “My family had nothing to do with it. And, you know, quite frankly, I deserve to be punished. It wasn’t something I should find some sort of excuse for. I didn’t. I didn’t. I had no idea that it would evolve the way it did. And I just couldn’t help it.”