Bernie Madoff’s son dead in apparent suicide

(Reuters)

The eldest son of disgraced financier Bernard Madoff hanged himself by a dog leash in his Manhattan apartment on Saturday, the second anniversary of his father’s arrest in a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme that swindled thousands of investors of their life savings, law enforcement officials said.

Mark Madoff, 46, was found hanging from a ceiling pipe in the living room of his SoHo loft apartment as his 2-year-old son slept in a nearby bedroom, two law enforcement officials told The Associated Press.

The law enforcement officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the death.

Madoff, who reported his father to authorities, has never been criminally charged in the biggest investment fraud in U.S. history, that has snared a half-dozen Madoff employees.

Mark Madoff and his brother Andrew have said they were unaware of their father’s crimes. But they have remained under investigation and been named in multiple investor lawsuits accusing them of profiting from the scheme.

But a third law enforcement official said Saturday that Madoff’s arrest was not imminent, and that investigators pursuing possible charges against him, his brother and uncle hadn’t contacted him for more than a year. The official wasn’t authorized to speak publicly about the case and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Mark Madoff killed himself on Saturday, said his lawyer, Martin Flumenbaum.

“This is a terrible and unnecessary tragedy,” Flumenbaum said in a written statement. “Mark was an innocent victim of his father’s monstrous crime who succumbed to two years of unrelenting pressure from false accusations and innuendo.”

A lawyer for Mark’s mother, Ruth Madoff, said, “She’s heartbroken.” The lawyer, Peter Chavkin, had no further comment.

Mark Madoff was found by his father-in-law, after his wife, Stephanie, became concerned when he sent an e-mail to her Friday night or early Saturday morning that someone should check on their 2-year-old son, law enforcement officials said. Madoff’s wife, who is at Disney World in Florida with her 4-year-old daughter, sent her father to the home, where he found Madoff’s body. The toddler was found unharmed, along with a dog.

Bernard Madoff, 72, swindled a long list of investors out of billions of dollars. He admitted that he ran his scheme for at least two decades, cheating thousands of individuals, charities, celebrities and institutional investors. Losses are estimated at around $20 billion, making it the biggest investment fraud in U.S. history.

He was arrested on Dec. 11, 2008, after confessing his crimes to his family.

The scandal put a harsh light on members of the family. The financier’s brother, Peter, played a prominent role in the family’s company. Mark and Andrew Madoff both worked on a trading desk at the firm, on a side of the business that wasn’t directly involved in the Ponzi scheme.

In February, Mark Madoff’s wife petitioned a court to change her last name and the last names of their two children, saying her family had gotten threats and was humiliated by the scandal.

A year ago, the court-appointed trustee trying to unravel Madoff’s financial affairs sued several relatives, including Peter, Mark and Andrew, accusing them of failing to detect the fraud while living lavish lifestyles financed with the family’s ill-gotten fortune.

The lawsuit accused Mark Madoff of using $66 million he received improperly to buy luxury homes in New York City, Nantucket and Connecticut.

A call to Bernard Madoff’s attorney was not immediately returned Saturday. Calls to the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s office were also not immediately returned. Previously, spokespeople for the brothers had repeatedly denied that they had any knowledge of their father’s crimes.

Bernard Madoff is serving a 150-year prison sentence in North Carolina. Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman Traci Billingsley said Saturday she didn’t have specific information on whether Bernie Madoff had been informed of his son’s death or would be allowed to attend a service. In general, she said, inmates are informed of a relative’s death as soon as the institution is made aware of it and the bureau does allow furloughs for prisoners to attend memorial services.

A police officer stood guard in the lobby of Madoff’s 12-story luxury loft apartment building in SoHo Saturday morning.

The building sits on a busy block abutting Broadway in an area crowded with clothing boutiques, cafes and art galleries. The sidewalks and cobblestone streets near the apartment were packed with Christmas shoppers Saturday, as dozens of reporters stood vigil.

Bystanders gawked as officials from the medical examiner’s office removed the body early Saturday afternoon. The medical examiner will determine the cause of death.

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Associated Press writers Verena Dobnik in New York and Page Ivey in Columbia, S.C. contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press

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9 Responses to "Bernie Madoff’s son dead in apparent suicide"

  1. Carl Nemo  December 12, 2010 at 1:11 am

    This is a tragedy in that Bernie’s eldest son takes his life, not because he’s a coward, but realizing the shame his father has brought upon his entire family along with its widespread ramifications in terms of the loss of wealth for many and the relentless years to come of ever-hounding lawsuits, bad publicity etc. I understand! Possibly his death will reinstate the honor of his family in terms of loss related to simply ‘money’ rather than the overt actions of one member who’s gone astray.

    ***

    RIP Mark Madoff…

    ***

    Carl Nemo **==

  2. Bill  December 12, 2010 at 3:18 am

    The greatest Confidence Man of them all, Yellow Kid Weil, said that he never was able to steal (con) from an honest man. Everyone he ever robbed was a greedy, dishonest person who cared nothing for rule of law.

    Madoff got what he deserved, and the loss of his son, though a tragedy, is perhaps the ultimate justice of an angry G-d. If Mark Madoff was innocent…well, it is just too farfetched that the sons did not know of the father’s criminal acts. Weak people, people who cannot face the truth or who are not brave enough to stand up and fight commit suicide. Cancer or some other incurable disease can, in my mind, be the only justification for suicide, but I guess that avarice would also be included, particularly in this case.

  3. griff  December 12, 2010 at 9:15 am

    One less Wall Street bankster financial rapist to deal with. For some crazy reason I just can’t feel bad about this.

  4. Carl Nemo  December 12, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    What’s really tragic about this Madoff debacle is that his company “Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC” sat in the catbird seat to make beaucoup bucks over the years as a ” market maker”. Market makers provide liquidity to markets especially on the down side and they make their money on the spread between the bid and asked price as they handle millions of shares per day. So it’s always a slam dunk for them in terms of income just as real estate brokers make money on the sale of a home regardless of prices going up or down. Instead of being satisified at making hundreds of millions legally over the years since its founding in 1960 he evidently needed to steal billions. Seemingly even greed is suffering from ‘inflation’ in our times. / : |

    After Bernie disclosed the truth behind his ‘success’ to his sons, they turned him over to the authorities. Mark Madoff was not under continued investigation by the authorities since he was an unwitting dupe to his fathers shady dealings too. We can also blame our useless, “blue sky”, corporatist friendly regulators such as the SEC et al. for not nailing this guy many years earlier. No doubt some bureaucrats and resident crimpols had their palms greased to keep their heads turned the other way over the years.

    Another strange thing about this whole debacle is that Bernie never risked his ill-gotten lucre in the markets themselves, he knowing better than anyone that our stock markets are a rigged game. He deposited these huge sums into New York and offshore banks. Where was almighty “FINCEN” our financial crimes central who supposedly monitors all transactions especially large ones of this nature? They are like the NSA concerning the monitoring of the flow of money throughout our nation and the world at large and were founded in 1990. The Justice Department does this type of monitoring too.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Financial_Crimes_Enforcement_Network

    Carl Nemo **==

  5. eve  December 12, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    Once again, I’m with Griff.

    Madoff wasn’t the only one. There were many involved in this, but Madoff took the fall.

    I wonder how his handicap (golf) is improving in prison?

  6. b mcclellan  December 12, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    He was offed, get it ?

    • Carl Nemo  December 12, 2010 at 3:25 pm

      Actually the thought never crossed my mind in the son’s case. Possibly you are correct Bryan. Nothing surprises me in this times.

      Carl Nemo **==

  7. b mcclellan  December 12, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    A man with the ethics to stand for honesty over family has no death wish nor bent other than to cleanse the family name, in my mind anyways.
    I can’t see if guilty he might be how could in good conscience t-would he leave a history of such demise for his son to bear. .

  8. Sharonsj  December 13, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    Maybe he wasn’t under investigation, but there were moves to strip all family members of money and property based on the assumption it was money from illegal means. I guess the prospect of not being wealthy or having to give up three or four homes was too much. Unfortunately he left behind a widow and two small children who will inherit having to deal with the mess.

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