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Famous swindler Charles Ponzi looks very dapper in a suit and hat. A quotation next to the black-and-white photo reads, 'I went looking for trouble, and I found it."

Who could say no to that face? (credit below)

On this week’s version of “My Favorite Round,” we dive into a question from a round called “Charlotte’s Web” – all about the shady doings in North Carolina. One of those questions included the final resting place of Bernie Madoff. Let’s dive a little deeper.

After pleading guilty to the biggest Ponzi scheme in history, disgraced financier Bernie Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison in late 2009. He was sent to a medium-security federal prison in Butner, North Carolina, and Inmate #61727-054 continued to make headlines after being transported to his new, significantly less-glamorous Southern address. 

In October of that year, the then 71-year-old got into a serious argument about the stock market — no, really — with another elderly prisoner, and the two got into a low-stakes shoving match. “I didn’t think Bernie had it in him,” an unnamed inmate told the New York Post. “[Madoff] got the best of him; he was really aggressive, and the other guy was in shock that he fought back.” 

Two years later, Madoff wrote a letter to his daughter-in-law, bragging that he was treated like “a Mafia don” by both the prison staff and the other convicted cons. “As you can imagine, I am quite the celebrity,” he wrote. 

“They call me either Uncle Bernie or Mr. Madoff. I can’t walk anywhere without someone shouting their greetings and encouragement, to keep my spirit up. It’s really quite sweet, how concerned everyone is about my well being, including the staff… It’s much safer here than walking the streets of New York.” (His daughter-in-law, Stephanie Madoff Mack, told ABC News that she was “smokin’ pissed” about the whole situation.) 

And in 2017, Madoff was the subject of a podcast called “Ponzi Supernova,” which reiterated the claims that Madoff was a “hero” in prison. The show’s host, Steve Fishman, also said that Madoff even found a way to run a low-rent racket from the rec yard. 

“[H]e’s continued applying his business instincts in prison,” Fishman told Marketwatch. “At one point, he cornered the hot chocolate market. He bought up every package of Swiss Miss from the commissary and sold it for a profit in the prison yard. He monopolized hot chocolate! He made it so that, if you wanted any, you had to go through Bernie.”

Madoff died in prison in April 2021. If there’s an afterlife, he’s probably cheating somebody there, too.

Featured image courtesy of: Security and Exchange Commission (graphic by Mysid), Public Domain