Bernard Madoff, who is serving a 150-year sentence in North Carolina for running a fraud scheme that cost investors billions of dollars, was physically assaulted by another inmate in December, according to three people familiar with the matter.

After the attack, Madoff, who pleaded guilty a year ago and was sent to a federal prison in Butner, N.C., was moved on Dec. 18 to the prison's low-security medical center for treatment. At the time, the Bureau of Prisons said that rumors of an assault were false and that Madoff suffered from dizziness and hypertension.

One of his lawyers, Ira Sorkin, added at the time that Madoff was experiencing high blood pressure and heart palpitations. Mr. Sorkin declined to comment Wednesday on whether his client was beaten, saying, "I don't comment on prison conditions or his family. That has been my policy."

Madoff was treated for a broken nose, fractured ribs and cuts to his head and face, according to a felon currently at Butner serving time on drug charges who was familiar with his condition at the time. The details of the injuries couldn't be independently verified.

Another inmate who recently was released from Butner after serving time on drug charges also confirmed the assault, as did a third person familiar with Mr. Madoff's situation. 

The former inmate said the dispute centered on money the assailant thought he was owed by Madoff.

Click here to read more from The Wall Street Journal.