Prisons Bureau says Madoff does not have cancer

Mon Aug 24, 2009 6:50pm EDT
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By Joseph A. Giannone

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street super-swindler Bernard Madoff has not been diagnosed with cancer, the Federal Bureau of Prisons said on Monday, knocking down a tabloid report that Madoff was dying of the disease.

Separately on Monday, U.S. prosecutors said in a court filing that they would seek forfeiture by former Madoff deputy Frank DiPascali of a 61-foot motor yacht, known as the "Dorothy Jo," and three luxury cars. Prosecutors say these items were bought with funds taken from Madoff's victims.

The New York Post reported that Madoff, 71, who since June has been serving a 150-year sentence at a North Carolina federal prison, told inmates he does not have long to live. The paper cited unnamed prison sources.

Federal Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman Traci Billingsley initially told Reuters the story was "full of inaccuracies."

Billingsley later, in a written statement, said "Bernie Madoff is not terminally ill, and has not been diagnosed with cancer," although the bureau did not address every detail in the story.

The Post story quoted one inmate at the Butner Medium Federal Correctional Institution as saying Madoff was taking "about 20 pills a day" and "not doing very well."

The newspaper said that earlier this year there had been speculation that Madoff was suffering from pancreatic cancer.

Madoff lawyer Ira Sorkin declined to comment on his client's "physical or emotional condition."   Continued...

<p>Bernard Madoff leaves the Manhattan federal courthouse in New York March 10, 2009. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton</p>