From the web page of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, LLC.
From the Daily Telegraph:
Mr Madoff told senior employees of his firm on Wednesday that "it's all just one big lie" and that he was "finished", according to a criminal complaint filed on Thursday night by the US Attorney's office and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).
He allegedly went on to say that the business was "a giant Ponzi scheme" – a reference to Charles Ponzi, one of the greatest swindlers in US history – and estimated that the scheme had lost investors $50bn over many years – which would make the hedge fund one of the biggest frauds in history. When former energy trading giant Enron filed for bankruptcy in 2001, one of the largest at the time, it had $63.4 billion in assets.
"There is no innocent explanation," Mr Madoff said, according to the criminal complaint. He told the agents that it was all his fault, and that he "paid investors with money that wasn't there", according to the complaint.
Reportedly that's 50 billion dollars that weren't there. I'll note that unlike other criminals we've recently discussed, Mr. Madoff was a law school dropout.