Bernie Madoff is an American fraudster and a former stockbroker, investment advisor, and financier. He is the former non-executive chairman of the NASDAQ stock market, and the admitted operator of a Ponzi scheme that is considered the largest financial fraud in U.S. history.
Madoff founded the Wall Street firm Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC in 1960, and was its chairman until his arrest on December 11, 2008. The firm was one of the top market-maker businesses on Wall Street, which bypassed "specialist" firms by directly executing orders over the counter from retail brokers. He employed at the firm his brother Peter as Senior Managing Director and Chief Compliance Officer; Peter's daughter, Shana Madoff, as the firm's rules and compliance officer and attorney; and his sons Andrew and Mark. Peter has since been sentenced to 10 years in prison and Mark committed suicide by hanging exactly two years after his father's arrest. Andrew died of lymphoma on September 3, 2014.
On December 10, 2008, Madoff's sons told authorities that their father had confessed to them that the asset management unit of his firm was a massive Ponzi scheme, and quoted him as describing it as "one big lie." The following day, FBI agents arrested Madoff and charged him with one count of securities fraud. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had previously conducted multiple investigations into Madoff's business practices, but had not uncovered the massive fraud.