Bernie Madoff, Wall Street financier and Ponzi scheme organizer, has died at age 82

Bernie Madoff
Bernie Madoff arrives at Manhattan Federal court on March 12, 2009 in New York City.

Bernie Madoff, the Wall Street financier-turned-Ponzi scheme kingpin, has died, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.

He was 82. Madoff apparently died of natural causes in federal prison, according to an AP source. He is survived by his wife, Ruth Madoff.

Born in New York City in 1938, Madoff founded a stock brokerage in 1960 that eventually became Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities. The firm specialized in over-the-counter penny stocks, using pink sheet quotes to make markets for traders. Madoff’s brokerage then moved on to computerized trades, employing information technology to organize quotes. The digital market-making service went on to underpin the NASDAQ exchange.

The brokerage bypassed traditional exchange firms to allow traders to directly order from retail brokers, and at one point served as the largest market maker at the NASDAQ. Madoff served as a NASDAQ director for three single-year terms.

The financier developed close friendships with major players in the financial sector and used his network to spark what became the largest case of financial fraud in US history. Madoff signed on numerous wealthy friends as investors in his firm offered hefty compensation, and garnered recommendations on other investors to fold into the venture. He also warmed up to financial industry regulators, building up the brokerage as a prestigious and respected firm in the lucrative sector. Wealthier and wealthier financiers were drawn into the business seeking the prestige that emanated from Madoff’s firm.

The garnering of new capital kicked off Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. New investments would pay off those having already joined, and new clients were encouraged to attract more investors. The scheme granted major profits to those who joined the firm early and eventually drove billions of dollars in losses for the majority of clients who worked with Madoff’s business later on.

No major Wall Street firms invested with Madoff, as they suspected his operations were not legitimate. Others pointed to Madoff’s three-person team as proof that the firm couldn’t pull in the massive gains they posted.

Investigators estimated that Madoff’s scheme began in the early 1980s. The Securities and Exchange Commission conducted several investigations into the business but failed to find any evidence of malpractice. The Central Bank of Ireland missed any warning signs when Madoff’s multibillion-dollar fraud began using Irish funds to pad returns.

Madoff was arrested in New York in December 2008 after a whistleblower – who was later identified as one of his sons – said the financier was failing to pay off $7 billion to his clients. Many of Madoff’s business partners looked to pull their funds from the business in December as the global financial crisis prompted mass fear around the financial industry’s validity. Madoff sought to pay out $173 million in bonuses to his closest partners, but when his sons caught wind of the rewards and confronted their father, he admitted that the entire firm was “just one big lie” and “basically, a giant Ponzi scheme.”

Madoff’s sons reported their father to federal authorities, and the disgraced financier was arrested and charged with securities fraud on December 11, 2008. He pleaded guilty to 11 federal felonies on March 12, 2009, including securities fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, and perjury.

District Court Judge Denny Chin sentenced Madoff to 150 years in federal prison on June 29, 2009. Madoff’s lawyers asked the judge to shorten the sentence to 7, and later 12, years due to his limited life expectancy, but Chin ruled the sentence was appropriate, calling Madoff’s crimes “extraordinarily evil.”

Madoff requested compassionate release from prison last year, telling a judge he had only 18 months to live due to end-stage kidney disease and other “chronic, serious medical conditions.”

A judge denied his request in June 2020.

The size of Madoff’s fraud varies from estimate to estimate. Early investigators pegged the fraud’s total value at $65 billion, while trustees of assets seized Irving Pickard estimated the amount owed to victims was roughly $57 billion. Former SEC chair Harvey Pitt noted the fraud likely involved between $10 billion and $17 billion.

Pickard was tasked with recovering funds lost in the scheme and returning them to investors. He and his team have already recovered more than $13 billion in lost funds, roughly three-quarters of approved claims, by suing those who profited from Madoff’s scheme.

The US government announced in November 2017 it would begin paying out $772.5 million to more than 24,000 victims of Madoff’s scheme.

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Nancy Pelosi said she would have fought the Capitol rioters if they found her: ‘I’m a street fighter’

pelosi shutdown
Nancy Pelosi.

  • Nancy Pelosi told USA Today she would have fought the Capitol rioters if they found her on January 6.
  • Rioters stormed the building, forcing lawmakers to be evacuated. Some entered Pelosi’s office.
  • Pelosi said if they found her, “they would have had a battle on their hands.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would have fought the Capitol rioters if they found her as they stormed the building.

A mob of Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol on January 6, forcing lawmakers to evacuate while voting to confirm President Joe Biden’s election victory.

Prosecutors said that Pelosi and then-Vice President Mike Pence were targets for the rioters, with some saying they wanted to kill the pair.

She told USA Today that her security agents had managed to evacuate her.

But, when asked what she would have done if that had not happened, she said: “Well, I’m pretty tough. I’m a street fighter. They would have had a battle on their hands.”

She also lifted her foot in a high-heeled shoe, joking that “I would have had these” to use as weapons, USA Today reported.

Five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died as a result of the riot.

One suspected rioter, Richard Barnett, was photographed in Pelosi’s office with his feet up on her desk during the insurrection. He was also later seen outside the building, appearing to hold a letter belonging to Pelosi.

Pelosi in January said that her staffers had to hide under desks, and she said that she had first wanted to stand her ground before she relented to being escorted to an undisclosed location.

She also said she will “never forgive” the rioters for the “trauma” they caused Congressional staff and members.

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Pfizer is ramping up vaccine production and will meet its goal of 300 million doses two weeks early, its CEO said

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  • Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said on Twitter his company is ramping up COVID-19 vaccine production.
  • Bourla said his company will deliver 220 million doses of the vaccine to the US by the end of May.
  • He said that the complete supply of 300 million would be delivered by the end of July.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Pfizer has increased its production of COVID-19 vaccines and will deliver remaining doses to the United States faster than expected, CEO Albert Bourla said on Twitter.

Bourla said his company will deliver 220 million doses of the vaccine by the end of May – 10% more than previously agreed on.

He said that the complete supply of 300 million would be delivered by the end of July, two weeks earlier than expected.

“In the fight against COVID-19, we’re in this together,” he wrote.

The announcement came after US officials recommended a pause on the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, citing reports of blood clots forming in people who have received the shot.

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Johnson & Johnson is delaying the rollout of its COVID-19 vaccine in Europe after US officials recommended pausing its use

johnson & johnson vaccine
  • Johnson & Johnson has suspended its rollout of the vaccine in Europe.
  • Several countries had just received their first doses on Monday.
  • On Tuesday, the US suspended use of the vaccine while it investigates reports of rare blood clots.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Johnson and Johnson announced a delay in rolling out its COVID-19 vaccine in the European Union, hours after US health officials called for authorities to pause using it.

The 27 member states, Norway, and Iceland, had started receiving doses of the Johnson & Johnson on Monday. The bloc was expecting 55 million doses by June, and 120 million doses in the following quarter.

“We have been reviewing these cases with European health authorities,” the company said in a statement Tuesday. “We have made the decision to proactively delay the rollout of our vaccine in Europe.”

Officials with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday that health agencies should immediately pause giving the shot, citing an “abundance of caution” over extremely rare reports of blood clotting among the millions of doses administered.

Six women between 18 and 48 years old who received the vaccine developed the clots within two weeks of being vaccinated, the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration said in a joint statement Tuesday.

Federal agencies immediately suspended using the shot, and many state and local health authorities followed suit Tuesday morning.

Following the announcement, Sweden said it would be reviewing its use of the Johnson & Johnson shot in the next couple of days. Belgium and the Netherlands said that, for now, they would continue to use the shot.

The delivery of the vaccines to Europe, Norway and Iceland had already been delayed by production issues.

“We have been working closely with medical experts and health authorities, and we strongly support the open communication of this information to healthcare professionals and the public,” Johnson & Johnson said.

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White House says Johnson & Johnson pause ‘will not have a significant impact on our vaccination plan’

johnson and johnson vaccine
The first boxes of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine are loaded into a box for shipment from the McKesson facility in Shepherdsville, Kentucky on March 1, 2021.

White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients says a pause on the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine won’t have a “significant impact” on the country’s vaccination plan.

Zients said in a statement that his team is working with federal and state partners to have anyone scheduled to receive a Johnson & Johnson vaccine rescheduled for a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

“Johnson & Johnson vaccine makes up less than 5 percent of the recorded shots in arms in the United States to date,” he said in the statement. “Based on actions taken by the President earlier this year, the United States has secured enough Pfizer and Moderna doses for 300 million Americans.”

US officials recommended an immediate pause on the rollout of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on Tuesday, citing reports of blood clots forming in people who have received the shot.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said on Tuesday that six women between 18 and 48 years old developed blood clots between six and 13 days after receiving the vaccine.

Zients said in his statement that there are enough Pfizer and Moderna shots to make up for paused Johnson & Johnson doses.

“Over the last few weeks, we have made available more than 25 million doses of Pfizer and Moderna each week, and in fact this week we will make available 28 million doses of these vaccines,” he added. “This is more than enough supply to continue the current pace of vaccinations of 3 million shots per day, and meet the President’s goal of 200 million shots by his 100th day in office-and continue on to reach every adult who wants to be vaccinated.”

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US officials recommend pausing the Johnson & Johnson vaccine rollout immediately, citing blood clots

johnson and johnson vaccine
A nurse loads a syringe with a dose of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine.

  • The CDC and FDA recommended an immediate pause in the rollout of J&J’s single-dose COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The agencies cited blood clots in six people who had received the vaccine. They are investigating.
  • They were “recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution,” they said.
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The US is recommending an immediate pause in the rollout of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose COVID-19 vaccine, citing concerns of blood clots forming in people who had received the shot.

Six women who had received the vaccine had developed the clots six to 13 days after vaccination with the shot, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said in a joint statement Tuesday.

One woman died and another was in critical condition at the hospital, the CDC and FDA said.

So far 6.8 million doses of J&J vaccine have been given to Americans, according to the CDC and FDA.

“CDC will convene a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on Wednesday to further review these cases and assess their potential significance. FDA will review that analysis as it also investigates these cases,” the statement said.

“Until that process is complete, we are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution.”

The Europeans Medicine Agency (EMA) announced Friday that it was closely monitoring J&J’s vaccine after four reported cases of blood clots were reported in people immunized with it in the US.

One of the people was a volunteer in the vaccine’s clinical trial, who died of a clotting disorder. The other three were people who got the shot after it was approved by the FDA, the EMA said in a statement. These are likely to be the same cases described by the FDA and CDC.

The federal government has the authority to pause vaccinations that it is carrying out directly, but not those being administered by state officials. The New York Times reported that US officials expect states will also choose to pause their use of the vaccine.

Read more: COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker: AstraZeneca’s shot proves safe and effective, and is headed to the FDA

The recommendation follows some vaccination sites in the US pausing the shots for different reasons.

Vaccination sites in Colorado, North Carolina and Georgia temporarily stopped giving people J&J’s shot last week after about 45 people in total experienced minor adverse reactions involving nausea, dizziness, fainting, or lightheadedness within 15 minutes of being given a dose.

Separately, the New York Times reported April 6 that 62 million J&J doses had to be checked for contamination, after workers at a manufacturing plant in Maryland accidentally mixed up some of the vaccine’s ingredients last month.

The FDA’s 62-page review of the data, which was released in late February, had found the shot to be effective and safe.

Blood clots have in other countries have led to reviews and some pauses in the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, mostly in Europe. That vaccine is not currently part of the US rollout.

This story is developing. More follows.

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The US is sending 500 extra troops to Germany, Defense Secretary Austin says, as Russia amasses troops at Europe’s border

Lloyd Austin
Lloyd Austin.

  • Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced the US will station 500 more troops in Germany.
  • He said this would “strengthen deterrence and defense in Europe.”
  • It comes as Russia strengthens its military force at the Ukraine border.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced on Tuesday that the US will station 500 more troops in Germany.

He said that this would “strengthen deterrence and defense in Europe.”

He made the announcement during a trip to Berlin, and said that the troops could arrive as soon as the fall, according to Axios.

The announcement comes as Russia builds up its troop presence at its border with Ukraine, prompting fears among NATO countries.

The strategy contrasts with that of former President Donald Trump, who tried to withdraw 12,000 troops from Germany before it was halted by President Joe Biden.

Ukraine has estimated that 80,000 Russian troops have now amassed on its border and Crimea.

Ukraine also says Russian President Vladimir Putin is ignoring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s requests to communicate, though the Kremlin denied receiving such requests.

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India has authorized the Sputnik V shot. Russia says this mean its COVID-19 vaccine is now approved for 40% of the world’s population.

israel covid-19 vaccine
An elderly resident receives a dose of the Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine in Gaza City.

  • India has authorized Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine for use on its population.
  • Russia says this means the vaccine has been approved for use in 40% of the world’s population.
  • India is currently battling record cases of the coronavirus.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

India has authorized Russia’s Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine.

The news was confirmed by the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which is responsible for marketing the vaccine abroad, announced that India approved the vaccine for use.

The RDIF says this means that Sputnik V is now authorized for use for 3 billion people, or 40% of the world’s population. India’s population is the second largest in the world, with about 1.4 billion people.

India is already using two vaccines: the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and another made by Indian firm Bharat Biotech.

Interim analysis of phase-3 data published in The Lancet in February found that Russia’s vaccine is 91.6% effective. Russia has been giving it to its population since December.

India’s coronavirus cases have been reaching record highs, and the country is looking to increase its vaccination rate as it battles a surge.

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Biden says it ‘remains to be determined’ if fatal police shooting of Daunte Wright in Minnesota was accidental

Biden
President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting with labor leaders in the Oval Office of the White House, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, in Washington

  • President Joe Biden said it “remains to be determined” if the shooting of Duante Wright was accidental or not.
  • Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, was shot during a routine traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

In his first remarks about the police killing of a 20-year old Black man, Daunte Wright, President Joe Biden said that “it remains to be determined,” whether the shooting was accidental or not.

Biden added that he viewed “fairly graphic” body camera footage of Wright’s death, where an officer shot him during a routine traffic stop.

The cop mistakenly drew their gun instead of a Taser, according to Minnesota police. The officer is on administrative leave while authorities investigate the deadly shooting.

Biden said would review additional details before calling the Wright family, saying the family was in his prayers.

“We do know that the anger pain and trauma amidst the Black community is real,” said Biden. He added: “There is absolutely no justification for looting, no justification for violence.”

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Pfizer and BioNTech have asked US regulators to make their COVID-19 vaccine available to adolescents ages 12 to 15

covid-19 vaccine vial pfizer biontech

Pfizer and BioNTech have asked US regulators to make their COVID-19 vaccine available for adolescents aged 12 to 15.

The vaccine is authorized by the Food and Drug Administration for individuals 16 years old and older. The companies asked that authorization be expanded to younger teens.

In a statement issued on Friday, the companies said they plan to make similar requests worldwide in the coming days.

The vaccine showed “100 percent efficacy” and triggered a “robust antibody response” in trials with adolescents, the companies announced last month.

This is a developing story. Please check back for more updates.

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