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Bernie Madoff says he is dying of kidney failure and seeks early prison release

·2 min read
<span>Photograph: David Karp/AP</span>
Photograph: David Karp/AP

Bernard Madoff, the convicted fraudster behind the largest Ponzi scheme in history, has said he is dying of kidney failure and is seeking early release from his 150-year prison sentence.

In a court filing Madoff’s lawyer said the 81-year-old uses a wheelchair, often requires oxygen, and suffers from cardiovascular disease, hypertension, insomnia and other chronic and serious medical conditions. He is too old for a transplant and has been moved to the Federal medical center prison in Butner, North Carolina.

Madoff was arrested in December 2008 after authorities exposed a decades-long scheme in which the self-styled investment guru scammed thousands of people out of their life savings.

Prosecutors said Madoff’s firm, Bernard L Madoff Investment Securities, swindled individuals, charities, pension funds and hedge funds out of $64.8bn.

At Madoff’s sentencing in 2009, Judge Denny Chin called his crimes “extraordinarily evil”. At least four people connected to Madoff, including his son Mark, killed themselves.

“Madoff does not dispute the severity of his crimes, nor does he seek to minimize the suffering of his victims,” his lawyer, Brandon Sample, wrote in the filing. “Madoff humbly asks this court for a modicum of compassion.”

Madoff is perhaps the most prominent federal prisoner to seek “compassionate release” under the First Step Act, a bipartisan law signed by Donald Trump in 2018 that lets some older prisoners end their sentences early, often for health reasons.

Last year he asked Trump to commute his sentence. Trump, who had yet to act, has said that Madoff once tried to get him to invest with him. ““No thanks, I can lose my own money,” Trump said he told Madoff in an interview with the New York Times.

A spokesman for the US attorney Geoffrey Berman in Manhattan, whose office prosecuted Madoff, said that office would respond to the filing.

Madoff’s request will be considered by Chin, who meted out a sentence that was three times as long as the federal probation office had suggested.

Reuters contributed reporting