ANKARA

Bernie Madoff, former investment advisor and mastermind behind the US’ largest Ponzi scheme, died Wednesday at age 82, according to reports.

He died from natural causes at the Federal Medical Center in Butner, North Carolina while serving his sentence, the Federal Bureau of Prisons confirmed.

Madoff was serving a 150-year sentence, the maximum allowed.

By the time he pleaded guilty to 11 federal charges in 2009, it was estimated he defrauded almost 40,000 people in 136 countries out of approximately $65 billion since the 1980s.

Apart from regular investors, his victims included Hollywood director Steven Spielberg, actor Kevin Bacon, former New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon, and Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Weisel.

His actions led to significant regulatory changes for the US stock market watchdog, the Securities and Exchange Commission.

A federal judge last June denied Madoff’s request for release on claims of terminal kidney disease.

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