Was Bernie Madoff Worth Anything At The Time Of His Death?

On April 14, 2021, theĀ Associated Press reported the death of Bernie Madoff, the notorious financier who operated the largest Ponzi scheme in history, in a federal prison in North Carolina. The fraudster, who was serving a 150-year sentence for bilking thousands of investors out of billions of dollars, was 82 years old.

The sad truth of the situation is that few people will mourn the loss. The bogus investment scheme Madoff ran destroyed people's savings, bankrupted charities, and wrecked families, including his own. One of his sons committed suicide as a result of the fallout of his crimes, and his brother Mark was sentenced to a decade behind bars, even though he claimed to have no knowledge of the scheme Bernie was running. His own wife claimed ignorance of the fraud, releasing a statement after his arrest saying that she was "embarrassed and ashamed" of his actions. "The man who committed this horrible fraud is not the man whom I have known for all these years."

Some of Madoff's clients were high-profile celebrities, including Kevin Bacon, Steven Spielberg, legendary pitcher Sandy Koufax, and author and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel. They were among the thousands of people who Madoff burned for over $17 billion. Authorities were only able to recover around $14 billion of that money. Now that he's dead, it's only natural for people to wonder what wealth, if any, Madoff owned at the end of his life. Let's take a look and see.

Bernie Madoff's net worth at the time of his death was in the red

For those of us who sometimes have a hard time believing that there's justice in this world, especially when it comes to the uber-rich, we can take some small comfort in the fact that Madoff wasn't one of those who got away with his monstrous theft. At the height of his scheme, Madoff owned multimillion-dollar properties in Manhattan, Long Island, Palm Beach, Florida, and southern France. He and his wife shuttled to and from these lavish homes in private jets, sailed on yachts, and lived lives of extravagant luxury. In the months before his arrest, he told his sons that the business that had made all of that possible was "all just one big lie."

It was a lie that Madoff would pay for in the end. According to Celebrity Net Worth, the swindler was worth -$17 billion dollars at the time of his death. His properties were sold at auction by the U.S. Marshals Service in 2009. After his arrest, his wife Ruth settled with federal prosecutors in a deal that saw her give up her claim to assets worth around $85 million so that she could hold on to $2.5 million in cash. According to Greenwich Time, as of May 2017 she was living in a one-bedroom apartment in Old Greenwich, Connecticut, which she shared with her other son Andrew until his death from cancer in 2014.