Madoff 'to be transferred to North Carolina jail'

Bernard Madoff, facing 150 years in jail for perpetrating history's largest fraud, was last night in transit from New York to the place that he will most likely call home for the rest of his life: a prison 400 miles away.

The 71-year-old swindler, who used to boast a lifestyle of luxury yachts, designer jewellery and expensive suits, played out across four homes including a Manhattan penthouse, will now be sharing digs with 4,800 other residents of the Butner federal correctional complex in North Carolina, according to reports.

At his sentencing hearing two weeks ago, Madoff's attorneys originally asked for him to be housed at a medium-security facility in New York state. It was unclear last night whether Madoff would serve in the low-security or medium-security wing of the prison at Butner. His imminent arrival, originally reported by CNBC television, was not confirmed by the prison.

Until yesterday, Madoff had been housed at a remand centre in downtown Manhattan, in the financial district where he used to be kingpin. His Madoff Investment Securities took money from thousands of clients, but instead of investing it, he was using incoming cash only to pay investors who took money out. Victims who thought they had a combined $65bn (£40bn) will get back virtually nothing.

His wife, Ruth Madoff, had continued to visit him in Manhattan. At Butner, visits will be limited. She will have to be searched for drugs and go through a metal detector before meeting him, and embracing is allowed only at the beginning and end of visits. Madoff himself could be given work to do in the prison, for pennies a day.

Butner is also home to Omar Abdel-Rahman, the "Blind Sheik" behind the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing.