"I've served 11 years already, and, quite frankly, I've suffered through it," he said

By Gabrielle Chung
February 05, 2020 08:10 PM
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Bernie Madoff — the mastermind of the biggest Ponzi scheme in history — says he’s dying of kidney disease and wants to be released from his life sentence, according to reports.

The former businessman, 81, told The Washington Post in an article published on Wednesday that he is suffering from terminal kidney failure and hopes to be granted compassionate release so he can die outside of prison.

“I’m terminally ill,” he said in a phone interview with the outlet. “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.”

Madoff was arrested in December 2008 on allegations that his company, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, had swindled billions of dollars from individuals, businesses and charities.

Bernie Madoff
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He pleaded guilty to 11 felony charges related to fraud, money laundering, making false statements and perjury. He was sentenced to 150 years in prison, which he started serving out in July 2009.

His attorney, Brandon Sample, said Madoff has “less than 18 months to live” in a new motion filed on Wednesday, according to CNBC.

“Madoff does not dispute the severity of his crimes nor does he seek to minimize the suffering of his victims. Madoff has expressed remorse for his crimes,” the filing read, according to the outlet. “Now, after over ten years of incarceration and with less than 18 months to live, Madoff humbly asks this Court for a modicum of compassion.”

Madoff’s attorney said in the filing that the U.S. Bureau of Prisons had previously recognized that Madoff “meets the criteria for a reduction of sentence based on his end-stage renal disease,” but denied the request for compassionate release, CNBC reported.

Bernie Madoff
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The new filing is asking a judge to overturn the decision for “extraordinary and compelling reasons,” according to CNN.

The news outlet reported that Madoff’s initial request for compassionate release was denied on December 5.

“Mr. Madoff was accountable for a loss to investors of over $13 billion,” a rejection letter from a warden at the Butner Federal Correction Complex read, according to CNN. “Accordingly, in light of the nature and circumstances of his offense, his release at this time would minimize the severity of his offense. Therefore, although he meets the criteria for a (compassionate release), his (reduction in sentence) request is denied.”

According to online records, Madoff is currently housed at the Federal Medical Center in Butner, North Carolina.

Madoff’s attorney did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment, though Sample told Reuters that “Bernard Madoff is a broken man, and had a lot of personal loss.”

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“That’s not to diminish the impact of his crimes on his victims, but there are larger ideals at work when we consider whether to show compassion on someone in their final days,” the attorney said.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman, whose office prosecuted Madoff, could not be immediately reached by PEOPLE.