Madoff arrives at medium-security North Carolina prison


June 18, 2010 Updated Jul 14, 2009 at 2:14 PM EDT

Disgraced financier Bernard Madoff, sentenced in June to 150 years in prison for running the biggest fraud in Wall Street history, was transferred Tuesday to a medium-security facility, said the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

"He has arrived and is in Butner medium number one," said a spokesman for the bureau of prisons.

Madoff was sent from a maximum-security facility in New York about 400 miles (644 kilometers) south to the prison at Butner, North Carolina, a facility widely described as a "crown jewel" in the federal prison system because of the reputation of its staff and medical facilities.

Sources close to the Madoff family told the ABC News network on Monday that the 71-year-old con-man and his wife Ruth had feared he would spend the rest of his years in a much harsher maximum-security prison.

"She will be greatly relieved," someone close to Ruth said, according to ABC.

Last month's sentence came some six months after the biting economic downturn forced Madoff to unmask himself as behind one of the biggest financial scams, known as a Ponzi scheme, in history.

Prosecutors say about 13 billion dollars was handed to Madoff, but the former Nasdaq chairman has talked about losing some 50 billion dollars, which is believed to be the amount that would have been paid out had the funds been properly invested.

Madoff told the court in March that of the billions of dollars that passed through his hands during the three-decade scam, he never invested one cent in the market.

Instead he stashed the funds in a Chase Manhattan bank account. The funds were then used to pay out "dividends" to investors in what is known as a "Ponzi," or pyramid scheme.

Among Madoff's victims were Hollywood and international celebrities, several of the world's best-known banks and Jewish charities, some of which were forced to close after the scheme unraveled.

ABC also reported on Monday that Madoff's sentence had already been reduced by 20 years, citing federal prison records that listed the release date as November 12, 2139.

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