Notorious Ponzi scheme convict Bernie Madoff has announced that he is dying of kidney disease, and has asked for an early release from prison. In a photo interview with The Washington Post, Madoff revealed the news of his terminal diagnosis.
"There's no cure for my type of disease," he said. "I've served 11 years already, and, quite frankly, I've suffered through it."
Now 81 years old, Madoff made headlines more than a decade ago, when he pleaded guilty to 11 criminal counts, including fraud and money laundering, after being found to have cheated financial investors out of billions of dollars. In 2009, he was given a 150-year prison sentence.
The Bureau of Prisons has confirmed Madoff's claims, revealing that a prison doctor diagnosed him with the following health issues: end-stage renal disease, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and hyperparathyroidism, along with some other unnamed ailments.
According to his medical records, he has about 18 months to live. The Bureau of Prisons also reportedly confirmed that he technically meets the requirements for a "compassionate release," but, notably, it rejected his previous application in December.
Ken Hyle, general counsel for the Bureau of Prisons, wrote in the rejection letter, "His condition is considered terminal with a life expectancy of less than 18 months. However, Mr. Madoff is accountable of a loss to investors of over $13 billion. Accordingly, in light of the nature and circumstances of his offense, his release at this time would minimize the severity of his offense."
The Post added that Madoff stated he is currently on dialysis, and that he takes roughly 10 medications a day, including atorvastatin for high cholesterol, amlodipine and diltiazem for high blood pressure, and calcitriol (which is a man-made form of vitamin D).
The disgraced businessman also said that he has been given a back brace to use, as well as a bed wedge and medical shoes. He also revealed that he'd been given a lower bunk. Madoff went on to claim that he has been experiencing pain and cramping in his hips, thighs and knees, and stated that he has trouble sleeping for more than one hour at a time, due to the leg cramps that wake him up in the night.
Not everyone is on-board with the idea of Madoff getting an early release, as one of his victims Gregg Felsen — who had his savings wiped out in Madoff's Ponzi scheme — went on the record as being opposed to it.
"I never got a break; why should he get a break? He's terminally ill? I'm terminally broke," said Felsen. "He ruined a lot of people's lives and changed them forever. He deserves no leniency whatsoever."
At this time, there is no word on whether or not Madoff will be granted early release.