Bernard Madoff, Architect of Largest Ponzi Scheme in History, Is Dead at 82

Bernard L. Madoff, the one-time senior statesman of Wall Street who in 2008 became the human face of an era of financial misdeeds and missteps for running the largest and possibly most devastating Ponzi scheme in financial history, died Wednesday at the Federal Medical Center in Butner, North Carolina. He was 82.

周三,伯纳德·L·麦道夫(Bernard L. Madoff)在北卡罗来纳州巴特纳的联邦医疗中心(Federal Medical Center)逝世,享年82岁。这位曾经在华尔街极具威信的人物,因操纵了金融史上规模最大、可能也是最具破坏性的庞氏骗局,在2008年成为一个时代金融不法与失策的象征。

The Federal Bureau of Prisons confirmed the death. Madoff, who was serving a 150-year prison sentence, had asked for early release in February 2020, saying in a court filing that he had less than 18 months to live after entering the final stages of kidney disease and that he had been admitted to palliative care.

联邦监狱局(Federal Bureau of Prisons)确认了他的死讯。麦道夫被判150年监禁,他在2020年2月申请提前释放,在一份法庭文件中表示,他的肾病进入晚期,只剩下不到18个月的生命,他已经接受姑息治疗。

Madoff’s enormous fraud began among friends, relatives and country club acquaintances but ultimately grew to encompass major charities like Hadassah, universities like Brandeis and Yeshiva, institutional investors, and wealthy families in Europe, Latin America and Asia.


Buttressed by elaborate account statements and a deep reservoir of trust from his investors and regulators, Madoff steered his fraud scheme safely through recessions and crises. But the financial meltdown that began in mid-2007 and reached a climax with the failure of Lehman Bros. in September 2008 was his undoing.

在精心制作的财务报表和投资者与监管机构深厚信任的支持下,麦道夫在衰退和危机中安稳地操纵着他的诈骗计划。但始于2007年中、并在2008年9月雷曼兄弟(Lehman Bros.)破产时达到高潮的金融危机成了他的末日。

Hedge funds and other institutional investors, pressured by demands from their own clients, began to take hundreds of millions of dollars from their Madoff accounts. By December 2008, more than $12 billion had been withdrawn and little fresh cash was coming in to cover redemptions.


Faced with ruin, Madoff confessed to his two sons that his money-management operation was actually “one big lie.” They reported his confession to law enforcement, and the next day, Dec. 11, 2008, he was arrested at his Manhattan penthouse.


The victims of his fraud, some of whom went overnight from comfortable wealth to frantic desperation, numbered in the thousands. The paper losses totaled $64.8 billion.


More than money was lost. At least two people, in despair over their losses, committed suicide. A major Madoff investor suffered a fatal heart attack after months of contentious litigation over his role in the scheme. Some investors lost their homes.


Madoff was not spared in these tragic aftershocks. His older son, Mark, committed suicide in his Manhattan apartment on Dec. 11, 2010, the second anniversary of his father’s arrest.


In June 2012, Bernard Madoff’s brother, Peter, a lawyer by training, pleaded guilty to federal tax and securities fraud charges related to his role as the chief compliance officer at his older brother’s firm. In December 2012, he forfeited all his personal property to the government to compensate his brother’s victims and was sentenced to a 10-year prison term. And on Sept. 3, 2014, Madoff’s younger son, Andrew, died of cancer at the age of 48.


Besides the human toll, professional reputations were destroyed. More than a dozen prominent hedge funds and money managers had to admit that they had forwarded their clients’ money to Madoff and lost it all.


And for the Securities and Exchange Commission, which unsuccessfully investigated more than a half-dozen credible tips about Madoff’s fraud scheme since at least 1992, it was the most humiliating failure in its 75-year history.

对于美国证券交易委员会(Securities And Exchange Commission,简称SEC)而言,这是其75年历史上最丢脸的一次失败。最早从1992年开始,SEC就对麦道夫欺诈案的超过六条可靠线索进行了调查,但均未有成果。

Bernard Lawrence Madoff was born in Brooklyn on April 29, 1938, to Ralph and Sylvia (Muntner) Madoff, both the children of working-class immigrants from Eastern Europe.

伯纳德·劳伦斯·麦道夫(Bernard Lawrence Madoff)于1938年4月29日出生在布鲁克林,他的父亲拉尔夫(Ralph)和母亲西尔维娅(Sylvia)·麦道夫(婚前姓芒特纳[Muntner])都是来自东欧的工薪阶层移民。

He grew up in Laurelton, at the southern edge of Queens. It was in Laurelton that he met and, in 1959 married, Ruth Alpern, whose father had a small but thriving accounting practice in Manhattan.

他在皇后区南部边缘的社区劳尔顿长大。在那里,他遇见了露丝·阿尔彭(Ruth Alpern),两人在1959年结婚。阿尔彭的父亲在曼哈顿有一家规模不大但生意兴隆的会计事务所。

Before graduating from Hofstra University in 1960, he had already registered his own brokerage firm with the SEC, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, which he founded partly with money saved from summer lifeguard duty and a lawn-sprinkler installation business he had run in school.

1960年,在从霍夫斯特拉大学(Hofstra University)毕业之前,他就已经在SEC注册了自己的证券公司——伯纳德·L·麦道夫投资证券公司(Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities)。他读书时在暑假做救生员,并经营了自己的草坪洒水器安装生意,攒下的积蓄成为他日后创立公司时的部分资金来源。

After an uninspired year in law school, he devoted himself full-time to the business of trading over-the-counter stocks.


After his brother, Peter, joined the Madoff firm in 1970, it began to build a reputation for harnessing cutting-edge computer technology. It was one of the early participants in the fledgling electronic market that ultimately became the modern Nasdaq and was involved as an investor in several other platforms for computerized trading.


By the early 1960s, he had started accepting money raised for him by his father-in-law, Saul Alpern, and two young accountants who worked in the Alpern firm. At some point, the two accountants began to sustain this flow of Madoff-bound cash through the issuance of notes that they failed to register with the SEC, as required by law. The commission shut down that hidden money-management business in 1992, after Madoff had received almost $500 million from the accountants’ clients, who believed he was investing it for them.

到20世纪60年代初,他开始接受岳父索尔·阿尔彭(Saul Alpern)和阿尔彭家公司的两名年轻会计为他筹集的资金。后来,这两名会计开始靠发行票据来维持给麦道夫的现金流,他们并未按照法律规定在SEC登记这些票据。1992年,在麦道夫通过会计师客户获得近5亿美元资金后,SEC封停了这一隐蔽的资金管理业务,这些会计师客户还以为麦道夫在为他们进行投资。

Regulators filed civil charges against the two accountants, forcing them to shut down their note-sale operation, but failed to follow the money beyond Madoff’s doorstep.


By then, hedge funds, pension plans and university endowments were entrusting hundreds of millions of dollars to Madoff — despite a business operation that was cloaked in secrecy and independent audits that were signed by a one-man firm in a suburban storefront office.


Financial scholars later theorized that Madoff’s Ponzi scheme lasted so long because it appealed more to his clients’ fear than to their greed: He promised them consistency in an increasingly volatile market, not eye-popping returns. And he always delivered.


Before being sentenced on June 29, 2009, he read from a statement he had prepared with his defense lawyer, Ira Lee Sorkin.

在2009年6月29日被判刑之前,他宣读了和辩护律师艾拉·李·索尔金(Ira Lee Sorkin)准备的一份声明。

“I am responsible for a great deal of suffering and pain, I understand that,” he told the court. “I live in a tormented state now, knowing of all the pain and suffering that I have created. I have left a legacy of shame, as some of my victims have pointed out, to my family and my grandchildren.”


Madoff is survived by his wife, Ruth; his brother, Peter; his sister, Sondra M. Wiener; and several grandchildren.

麦道夫的身后人包括妻子露丝、弟弟彼得、姐姐桑德拉·M·维纳(Sondra M. Wiener)和几名孙辈。

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