Simply mentioning the name Bernard (Bernie) Madoff will send shivers of rage down the spines of many, many people. After all, the stockbroker and investment advisor was behind a globale Ponzi scheme that defrauded thousands of people to the tune of billions of dollars over the course of nearly forty years
Seven years ago, in June of 2009, Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison, which he is now serving.
But what else is there to know about the high-profile fraudster from Queens, New York? Was there another side to him?
Here are six facts about Madoff that aren’t as highly-publicized as his Ponzi scheme:
Madoff met his wife, Ruth Alpern, while in high school. The two married in 1959. Years later, Ruth admitted that she and her husband considered committing suicide after the scheme was revealed to the public.
Madoff loved to swim. He picked up the interest while in high school and became a lifeguard at the Silver Point Beach Club in Long Island.
Madoff was a pioneer. He helped bring electronic trading to the forefront and often spoke before congressional leaders. He was also actively involved in the National Association of Securities Dealers and served as its board chairman.
Madoff loved his watches. According to a 2013 New York Times article titled “The Talented Mr. Madoff,” he was “an avid collector of vintage watches and took time each morning to match his wedding ring —he owned at least two —two the platinum or gold watch band he was wearing that day.”
Madoff was actively involved in the nonprofit community. He donated $6 million to lymphoma research and made charitable gifts through the $19 million Madoff Family Foundation. He and his wife, Ruth, also gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to political campaigns within the Democratic Party.
Madoff’s sons have had a rough life. Mark, the oldest of two sons, committed suicide by hanging himself in his New York apartment. Andrew, the younger son, was diagnosed with mantle cell lymphoma, in 2003.
Disease hasn’t stopped with Andrew. The elder Madoff, now 77, suffered a heart attack in December 2013 and now suffers from end-stage renal disease. It’s also rumored that Madoff has kidney cancer.