Madoff assaulted by another inmate in December: report

NEW YORK Wed Mar 17, 2010 10:45pm EDT

Bernard Madoff walks back to his apartment in New York in this December 17, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/Files

Bernard Madoff walks back to his apartment in New York in this December 17, 2008 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton/Files

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bernard Madoff, the swindler who orchestrated a multibillion dollar fraud, was attacked by another inmate at the federal prison where he is serving a 150-year sentence, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing three people familiar with the matter.

The report said that the attack occurred last December. After it, Madoff was moved to a low-security medical center for treatment, where he was treated for a broken nose, fractured ribs and cuts to his head and face, according to a felon currently at the prison in Butner, N.C.

At the time of the incident last year, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons said the disgraced financier was being treated for high blood pressure and dizziness. The Federal Bureau of Prisons and Ira Sorkin, a lawyer for Madoff, did not immediately return calls seeking comment on the Wall Street Journal report.

Madoff is serving a 150-year sentence at Butner Federal Correctional Complex in North Carolina after pleading guilty to a $65 billion investment fraud that bilked thousands of investors worldwide.

The Wall Street Journal said details of Madoff's injuries couldn't be independently verified. But it said another inmate who recently was released from Butner confirmed the assault. A third unnamed person did, too, according the report.

The former inmate, who served time on drug charges, said the dispute centered on money the assailant thought he was owed by Madoff.

The Wall Street Journal said the Bureau of Prisons told it that the incident had been investigated, including an interview with Madoff.

"In December he told staff he was not assaulted, and an investigation was completed following his statements, which corroborated his statements," the newspaper quoted Traci Billingsley, a Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman, as saying. "Not one inmate has told staff he was assaulted."

Meanwhile, according to the former inmate, Madoff spends free time in the prison library on the weekends and often watches movies.

Both inmates said Madoff socialized with reputed Colombo crime-family boss Carmine Persico, the newspaper reported.

(Reporting by Paul Thomasch)

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