By Jonny Lupsha, Current Events Writer

Bernie Madoff, mastermind of a record-breaking Ponzi scheme, has died. His lawyer released a statement announcing his death, though no cause was given. Madoff conned $19 billion from investors.

Pyramid scheme
Appearing as legitimate business investments, Ponzi schemes lure new investors in while paying earlier investors with the fresh influx of capital. Photo By Torbz / Shutterstock

After serving less than 12 years of his 150-year sentence in prison, infamous conman Bernie Madoff died at the age of 82. As an investment adviser, Madoff made promises to thousands of clients that resulted in them losing more than $19 billion. He had been imprisoned in North Carolina since 2009. While his lawyer released no information about the cause of death, Madoff requested a reduced sentence in 2020 due to cardiovascular and kidney diseases.

Madoff is the culprit of what’s been called the biggest Ponzi scheme in history. The term “Ponzi scheme” comes from Charles Ponzi, who scammed investors in international postal coupons for millions.

In his video series Crashes and Crises: Lessons from a History of Financial Disasters, Dr. Connel Fullenkamp, Professor of the Practice and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Economics at Duke University, explained the three components that make Ponzi schemes seem irresistible.

An Honest Face and Open Books

“First, the person in charge is either very charismatic, or intelligent,…

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