Madoff en route to Atlanta, prisons website says

Convicted Ponzi scheme architect Bernard Madoff may serve his 150-year prison term in a federal prison in Georgia.

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons reported on its website this morning that the 71-year-old disgraced financier is now at the medium-security, 1,949-inmate United States Penitentiary Atlanta.

Based on an account by The Associated Press, USA TODAY had reported earlier today that Madoff would be sent to a federal prison in Butner, N.C.

Prison system media relations officials at the agency's Washington headquarters could not immediately be reached for comment today, and a spokesman at the Atlanta prison was not available early this morning. On Monday, the agency said only that Madoff was not at one of its facilities, signaling that he was apparently being transferred.

Madoff had been held since March at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan, not far from the Ground Zero site of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack.

The Bureau of Prisons, citing security reasons, said its policy is not to confirm the location of recently sentenced inmates until they arrive at the facility at which they have been assigned to serve their terms.

Madoff is among the most reviled financial criminals in modern history after running a decades-long scam that bilked thousands of clients worldwide out of billions of dollars by using money from new investors to pay older ones.

The Bureau of Prisons website shows the Georgia penitentiary is located in southeast Atlanta. Along with the medium-security prison, it includes a satellite facility for minimum security male inmates, the website shows.

Under federal regulations, the lengthy prison term Madoff received at his June 29 sentencing made him ineligible for placement in a minimum- security prison.

Madoff's lead defense attorney, Ira Lee Sorkin, declined to comment on his client's prison assignment Monday, saying, "We have not been advised yet."

At the sentencing hearing, Sorkin had asked U.S. District Judge Denny Chin to recommend that Madoff be sent to a federal prison in Otisville, N.Y., roughly 60 miles north of the onetime NASDAQ chairman's former Manhattan home.

Chin said he would recommend that Madoff go to a prison in the Northeast. But the judge stressed that the final decision was up to federal prison system officials.