A look back at 60 Minutes' reporting on Bernie Madoff's massive Ponzi scheme

60 Minutes extensively covered the fallout of Bernie Madoff's historic Ponzi scheme, interviewing his family, a whistleblower, and the fraud's asset recovery team.

2011: The Madoff family speaks
2011: The Madoff family speaks 29:55

Bernard Madoff, the man who orchestrated the largest known Ponzi scheme in history, died today at age 82 at the Federal Medical Center in Butner, North Carolina. Madoff died in prison where he was serving a 150-year sentence for 11 felonies related to his fraudulent asset management operation. 

In the aftermath of Madoff's arrest in 2008, 60 Minutes reported extensively on Bernie Madoff's unprecedented scheme.

60 Minutes aired the first interview with Madoff's wife Ruth and son Andrew. The broadcast reported on the whistleblower who said he first alerted the Securities and Exchange Commission about Madoff's fraudulent behavior in 2000. After his conviction, 60 Minutes broadcast a story on the liquidators who were responsible for salvaging what remained of Madoff's assets and returning them to his victims.


2009: The man who knew 13:51

In March 2009, 60 Minutes broadcast its first story on the Madoff fallout. It was an in-depth look at how Bernie Madoff was able to deceive investors and government regulators for decades.

In the story we called "The Man Who Knew," 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft interviewed whistleblower Harry Markopolos. The Boston-based financial analyst and fraud investigator said he submitted five separate filings to the SEC alleging Madoff's massive fraud from 2000 to 2008.

"It took me five minutes to know that it was a fraud," stated Markopolos. "It took me another almost four hours of mathematical modeling to prove that it was a fraud."

The Madoff family speaks

Ruth Madoff

In October 2011, 60 Minutes correspondent Morley Safer interviewed Bernie Madoff's wife Ruth Madoff and son Andrew in their first television interview following his arrest.

"Of course I feel the shame," Ruth Madoff said. "I can barely walk down the street without worrying about people recognizing me."

The Madoffs told 60 Minutes intimate details about the timeline leading up to their father's arrest.

"He [Bernie Madoff] said, everything I've been doing is all a big lie," Andrew Madoff recounted to Safer. "He said, the business is a Ponzi scheme, and the firm is completely insolvent and I'm broke. And then he just started sobbing."

Andrew Madoff and his brother Mark, who have both since died, worked for their father. Andrew told 60 Minutes they were the ones who reported their father to the FBI. He was arrested the next day.

The Liquidator

2009: Liquidating Madoff's remaining assets 13:08

In 2009, 60 Minutes correspondent Morley Safer spoke with Irving Picard and David Sheehan, who led a team trying to recover the billions of dollars in assets Bernie Madoff bilked from his investors. 

60 Minutes learned that the court-appointed recovery team was filing lawsuits against Madoff investors who profited from the scheme, to recover money for those who lost it.

"At the end of the day, they were in a Ponzi scheme, unfortunately for them," said Sheehan. "So, all they get, at best, is what they put in. And to claim that they should be getting something other than that is to suggest that some other resource should exist, talking about the taxpayers coming in and funding this."