Bernie Madoff was ultimately caught due to a combination of factors, including a whistleblower tip, a market downturn, and increased scrutiny from regulators.
In 2008, during the height of the financial crisis, many investors began requesting to withdraw their funds from Madoff’s investment firm. However, Madoff was unable to fulfill these requests because he had used the majority of the funds to pay off earlier investors and support his lifestyle. This led to suspicions and eventually a whistleblower tip from Harry Markopolos, an independent financial fraud investigator who had been investigating Madoff’s firm for years.
Markopolos reported his findings to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), but the agency failed to take action for several years. However, in December 2008, Madoff’s sons reported his fraud to the authorities, and he was arrested shortly thereafter.
Madoff eventually pleaded guilty to 11 counts of fraud, money laundering, perjury, and theft. He was sentenced to 150 years in prison and ordered to pay restitution to his victims.