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Madoff Begins Life Sentence at Federal Prison in Butner, NC

Disgraced financier Bernard Madoff arrived at federal prison in Butner, North Carolina, where he will spend the rest of his life.

Madoff sentenced to 150 Years
AP
Madoff sentenced to 150 Years

The disgraced New York financier arrived on Tuesday morning in a prison van after being moved from a jail cell in his home city and then temporarily to a federal prison in Atlanta, a prisons spokeswoman said.

Federal Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman Linda Thomas confirmed that the prison, 45 miles northwest of Raleigh, North Carolina, was Madoff's final destination to serve the effective life sentence he received on June 29 for bilking thousands of investors from all walks of life.

Madoff, 71, was sentenced last month to 150 years in prison after pleading guilty in March to charges that his investment advisory business was a multibillion-dollar scheme that wiped out thousands of investors and ruined charities.

Authorities said Madoff had carried out the fraud for at least two decades before confessing to his sons in December that his investment business was a fraud and that he had lost as much as $50 billion.

The Butner Federal Correctional Complex, located about 45 miles northwest of Raleigh, includes two medium-security facilities, a low-security facility and a hospital, according to the Bureau of Prisons Web site.

Among the well-known criminals being held at Butner are:

  • John Rigas, founder of Adelphia Communications, and his son, Tim, the company's chief financial officer. They were convicted on multiple charges of securities fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud and bank fraud.
  • Jonathan Pollard, the American convicted of spying for Israel more than two decades ago.
  • Omar Abdel-Rahman, also known as the "blind sheik," who was sentenced to life in prison in 1995 for his role in a plot to kill Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and blow up New York City landmarks, including the United Nations. He was sentenced to life in prison in 1995 and moved to Butner in 2007.

Prison Clothes

At the 3,400-inmate prison, Madoff will wear prison-issued clothing, initially be in isolation and then have a cell mate, according to those who have served time in the U.S. system. He will earn pennies a day doing menial work.

Once Madoff is settled into his new surroundings, his wife of 45 years, Ruth, will be allowed to visit him. The prison is an eight-hour drive from New York and it is not the one requested by his lawyer.

Video: CNBC's Scott Cohn reports on Bernie Madoff's arrival at federal prison in Butner, NC.

He had asked Madoff be sent a medium-security prison in Otisville, New York, about 70 miles northwest of New York City, but the bureau of prisons decides where convicts go.

On July 2, Ruth Madoff gave up the couple's luxury $7 million Manhattan penthouse apartment and its valuable contents, with proceeds eventually going to defrauded investors.

Under an agreement with U.S. prosecutors, Ruth Madoff was allowed to keep $2.5 million in cash, but she and her husband were ordered to forfeit everything else they owned, including other homes, yachts and jewelry.

-Reuters contributed to this report.