Ponzi Schemer Arthur Nadel Dies; One Of The Original ‘Mini-Madoffs’ Succumbs At 80 At Same Prison Facility That Houses Madoff

Arthur Nadel

Arthur G. Nadel, the Florida fund manager and Ponzi schemer who briefly went on the lam in the weeks after Bernard Madoff’s even-greater caper imploded, has died. Nadel was 80, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Nadel, sentenced in 2010 to 14 years in an elaborate fraud that operated between 1999 and 2009, died at the Butner Federal Correctional Complex, the same North Carolina facility that houses Madoff.

With America still largely unacquainted with the word “Ponzi” and trying to come to grips in late 2008 and early 2009 with the staggering dollar volume of Madoff’s crime, Nadel went missing from Sarasota.

Like Madoff, he was in his senior years and secretly had been presiding over a long-running, monumental fraud. The ages of the lead figures in the individual schemes and the combined dollar amounts — Madoff’s was in the billions and Nadel’s was in the hundreds of millions — caused investors nationwide to wonder if their trusted brokers and financial advisers were running scams.

Nadel emerged as one of the earliest of the so-called “mini-Madoffs,” as did Tennessee’s Dennis Bolze, who also went missing after the Madoff scheme collapsed. Bolze, then 60, later was arrested in Pennsylvania.

In January 2009, Nadel surrendered to the FBI. Investigators said he caused investors to suffer losses of $162 million.

“Through his massive Ponzi scheme, Arthur Nadel greased his own pockets and financed his lavish lifestyle, using money his clients relied on him to invest,” said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara of the Southern District of New York, after Nadel was formally sentenced in October 2010. “He cheated his elderly and unwitting victims out of their retirement savings and consigned others to poverty.”

In its story about Nadel’s death, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune quoted Nadel’s former lawyer.

“Dying behind prison walls is a very hard way for anyone to leave this world,” Mark Gombiner told the paper. “Arthur had a troubled life, but he took responsibility for his actions and he faced his punishment with dignity.”

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