(JTA) — Bernie Madoff, whose Ponzi scheme bilked clients out of billions of dollars, says he is dying of kidney failure and wants to leave prison, according to a new court filing.
In the request filed Wednesday in federal court, Madoff’s attorney asked for a “compassionate release” from federal prison for his 81-year-old client, The Associated Press reported. The filing says Madoff, who needs a wheelchair and has multiple medical problems, has been told he has less than 18 months to live.
Madoff is serving a 150-year sentence in a North Carolina federal prison for his $19 billion scheme, which began in the early 1970s and lasted until his arrest in 2008. He pleaded guilty in 2009 to 11 felony charges related to money laundering, perjury and falsifying financial documents.
Many prominent Jewish nonprofits suffered big losses in the fraud. Yeshiva University took a $140 million hit, Hadassah lost $90 million and the late Elie Wiesel’s foundation $15 million.
Madoff was admitted in July to the prison’s palliative care unit, according to the court filing, A compassionate release would allow him to “receive end-of-life care in the community, which would be more efficient, timely and less burdensome” on the prison system, AP reported.
In July, Madoff asked President Donald Trump to commute his sentence. The request remains listed as pending as of this week.
Madoff requested compassionate release in September from the warden of the federal prison, NBC News reported. According to AP, the Bureau of Prisons denied a December request by Madoff for release. The denial said an early release would “minimize the severity of his offense.”