Madoff Son Found Dead Of Apparent Suicide In SoHo Apartment

Son Of Disgraced Financier Found Hanging By Dog Leash In His Living Room

NEW YORK (WCBS 880/AP) — Disgraced financier Bernard Madoff’s eldest son hanged himself by a dog leash in his apartment Saturday, exactly two years after his father’s arrest in a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme that swindled thousands of investors of their life savings.

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.

Madoff, who reported his father to authorities, has never been criminally charged in the biggest investment fraud in U.S. history and has said he and his brother Andrew never knew of their father’s crimes. A law enforcement official told the AP that Mark was not facing imminent arrest and hadn’t spoken to investigators pursuing possible charges in over a year.

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell sums up how Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi Scheme affected his family

But he and other Madoff relatives have remained under investigation and been named in multiple investor lawsuits accusing them of profiting from the scheme.

“This is a terrible and unnecessary tragedy,” Madoff’s lawyer, Martin 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.”

Mark Madoff’s body was discovered after his wife, Stephanie, became concerned when he sent an e-mail to her early Saturday morning that someone should check on their 2-year-old son, said the law enforcement officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the death.

Madoff’s wife, who is at Disney World in Florida with her 4-year-old daughter, sent her stepfather to the home. The toddler was found unharmed, along with a dog.

“It indicates a level of panic and stress that he would do that with a kid in the house, and it shows this was a person going through extraordinary turmoil,” Andrew Kirtzman, author of “Betrayal: The Life and Lies of Bernie Madoff,” said.

He says the Madoff family was already fractured and bitter before the apparant suicide.

“Mark is facing $70 million dollars in wealth evaporating because of the scandal; his father is in jail,” Kirtzman said. “He was estranged by his mother because he felt she’s siding with Bernie Madoff; it’s been a terrible life, and he had no apparent hope of his life getting any better.”

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 sons.

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.

Just days ago, a court-appointed trustee filed a lawsuit seeking to recover any money from the fraud scheme that had been paid to members of the Madoff family, including Mark Madoff’s two young children.

At least a half-dozen Madoff employees have also faced criminal charges.

A year ago, the trustee, Irving Picard, 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.

“This is a tragic development and my sympathy goes out to Mark Madoff’s family,” Picard said in a statement Saturday.

Said Bernard Madoff’s lawyer, Ira Sorkin: “This is a great tragedy on many different levels.”

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 he 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 Saturday morning in the lobby of Mark Madoff’s building, a 12-story luxury condo tower with a penthouse owned by rocker Jon Bon Jovi.

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.

Nikolay Reva, a 28-year-old salesman in the Prada boutique on same block, said that Mark and his wife would come in with their children to shop, both before and after the scandal broke two years ago.

Mark “was very sweet, respectful, friendly,” said Reva. “But after his father’s arrest, you could see the person diminishing slowly, you could see something started to happen physically, and he wasn’t as talkative.”

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

More from Irene Cornell
  • greedo

    now, i can’t prove this. this is something i just heard. but rumor has it that bernard and ruth owned slaves outside the united states. the person did not know what country, but they were fairly certain the slaves belonged to bernie & ruth and were stored at one of their many homes overseas. i hope it’s not true, but based on bernie’s soul i would not be surprised.

    again, i am NOT saying this is true. just something i heard. i take no credit for this.

  • janet

    I guess he was not depressed before they caught.
    Sorry, I feel for the victims they robbed.
    Where did he get the money to buy the 4th floor of that apartment building?
    Where did he get the money to pay for his private jets?

  • jean

    Hey Cliff, do you really think the old man even cares about his son? Everything thats happened how would that even become a question?

  • cliff

    well berney lets see that smirks on your face you always had while going to court and while telling of your scam..common let’s see that smile now.. must be real proud of your self

  • Morris Wise

    Due to media censorship the few bloodless and painless ways to commit suicide are not available to the general public. But they are known to the rich and famous who never have to suffer when they make their final exit. Mark Madoff was known to fear pain and never would have chosen to die in agony. Unfortunately his murders gave him no choice when they wrapped the dog leash around his neck and strung him up to die a horrible death.

    • Dr David

      Just like David Carradine.

  • tim

    I want to know where is the money. It sure was not spent on pizzas and soda.

    • Dr David

      Or on plastic surgery for Ruth. OUCH … !!!

      But still an EXCELLENT question. I’ll bet dollars to donuts that there is still a lot of cash hidden around the world … perhaps in Switzerland … maybe Israel … secret accounts … buried treasure chests … who knows. Maybe Ruth knows. Maybe waiting for the dust to settle before dipping into her share of the loot. Maybe the govt should send her to Gitmo and waterboard her until she fesses up. It’s not like waterboarding is torture … just enhanced interrogation … she can take it. Oh, I’ll bet Ruth can take quite a bit. Oh poor dear Ruth, what have you gotten yourself into. All you ever wanted in life was to be a billionaire and look what happened. She’s so innocent … like a little lamb … poor poor Ruth. She’s the real victim in all this. It’s not easy being a billionaire’s wife.

  • jeter1000

    Just another example why your can’t judge a man by how much is in hi wallet.
    I’m broke ..its hard to be poor …these greedy wealthy weasels should all pay for their crimes

  • otto

    The tragedy is not for Mark Madoff, but for his 2 year old son. He is the innocent party in this.

    Mark will have some difficult times ahead when he crosses to the other side. His panoramic life review will be difficult. But because God is all loving and forgiving, he will be given an opportunity to make amends. No soul is beyond saving … some just take a little more work than others. What happens next for Mark will be up to him.

    I truly wonder how Bernard felt upon hearing this news. It should be one of the darkest days of his life.

    Sadly, we will never know the entire story as to how much everyone was involved in this scheme. I’m sure it reaches to people & places that we can’t even imagine yet.

  • DanTe

    Just like a madoff. Couldn’t even do this right. It left it’s spawn to continue the infestation. Take them all out.

  • gg

    This suicide was anger directed towards what his old man did in view of the fact it was at the exact hour the minute his dad was areested.

  • A Bahamian

    Kill all the rich RACIST DOGS!!!!!!!

  • tim

    Well this guy sure did not have any backbone when he does this to his 2 year old. Thats really thinking ahead of what type of life he should be TEACHING his son.

  • jbs

    susan, i completely agree.
    foghorn, an as yet innocent bystander took his life, whether or not your family was touched by BERNIE Madoff’s evil. The comments about his son are not justified. You didn’t know Mark. Don’t let your anger toward Bernie allow you to be joyful that his son killed himself because HIS OWN LIFE had been so negatively affected by his own father’s greedy actions. Take your hostility out where it belongs.

    • grant

      this comment implies that mark was not involved in his father’s dealings. i don’t think that is necessarily the case. foghorn’s comment does not appear to be expressing joy in mark’s death – rather, i believe, implying a certain sense of justice. i do not see hostility in his comment. madoff ruined, destroyed, thousands of lives by what he & his family did. i truly believe people like foghorn have a right to express their feelings on the subject. jbs – you have the same right. let us remember that we ALL have the right to express our feelings here. otherwise, CBS should shut off the comments.

      • foghorn

        Thank you Grant, but I can defend myself. I have no hostilities here. I was expressing that we all are allowed to vocalize our opinions on the Madoff family. Especially when directly affected. How dare u imply from my statement that I am joyful over his suicide.

  • herm.inator

    For those of you that lost money with Madoff, you deserved it. Greed is what drove you in the first place. Making money off of money, just shuffling paper with no real product.

    • Sig

      I agree. Those with greed will eventually pay it all back in more ways than one.

  • NM

    Morris Wise, you are not as wise as you think you are if you think people would not choose to hang themselves unless there were no other choice. My own father had a drawer full of prescribed medication which would have done the job quickly and relatively painlessly and yet he chose to hang himself. When people are in that much emotional pain, they do not usually sit down and think about which is the most painless way to end it all, they just want everything to end as quickly as possible.

    • Morris Wise

      I personally would never choose hanging when I know less painful ways to end it all. But I will not share the info. Your father was wise not swallowing the medication because they rarely work and just induce coma or brain damage.

  • Shameless

    Have you seen the pictures on this guy’s “behind” fly fishing ? What a catch , I used to run into him at the Townehouse on E.58 “gay mens club” , he was a tormented soul .

  • Arthur Beinestock

    Bernie Killed his Son . Bernie won’t loose one wink of sleep tonight . Mark should have not did it to himself with his son there . That was a coward move . What if the poor kid awoke from his sleep ?

  • Donnatella Sol

    Burn baby burn…

    • Donnatella Sol

      That is for Bernie, not his son. I just feel for the little one.

  • Skipper

    Sometimes the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing if he and his brother were working in another section of the company. Can you imagine what courage it took to turn in your own father? I feel for the unsuspecting members of the family, this is something they will carry to their graves. I don’t blame and wife and others for wanting to change their name in order to have some peace from a public that can be very cruel.

    Just look at what the rioters in England did to the Prince and Camilla when they should have gone to the British government where the problem started.


    GRATEFULL he is DEAD !!!!!! ONLY 4 MORE TO GO !!!!

    • jbs

      you are grateful for the wrong things…for the wrong reasons. you didn’t know him, or know anything about him. your comment only proves how ignorant you are. the perpetrator of this crime is serving 150 years in prison. you are a complete ass.


        YO jbs 4 MORE TO GO HANG EM HIGH

  • Morris Wise

    Hired killers have perfected the appearance of suicide, even amateurs are getting in the game. It would be impossible to tell if the killers temporarily bound Marks hands, wrapped the dog leash around his neck and then hung him up to die. Mark could even have been forced to write a suicide note before being murdered. People desiring to kill themselves make it as painless as possible, there are vast amounts of literature available on the subject. Hanging is the last choice. He was murdered before implicating others, and it was the perfect crime.

  • Susan

    This is tragic. The comments are gruesome.

    • foghorn

      I assume your family was not touched by Madoff’s evil. Mine was. The comments are justified.

  • Sally Rogers

    Ruth and the other son should follow his example.

    • pny

      What a sick and hateful thing to say about other human beings.

      • foghorn

        You have to know Ruth was in on the scam. She deserves no mercy.

      • jbs

        ya know foghorn…it’s one thing for your husband to be a fraud and a greedy cheat…it’s another to lose a child…no matter the reason. you deserve no mercy for not being able to separate the two issues.

        i agree with pny…saying Ruth and the other son should follow his example is a sick and hateful thing to say….and would solve what exactly??? How would that help your situation? Would that actually make you feel better?? If so, you need more help than Mark so cleary would have benefitted from. He, along with his brother turned in his own father. do you think that might indicate they have some moral compass their father did not??? wishing evil on others is a cop out.

  • Grim Reaper

    He “manned” up…
    A Dog Leash…

  • Diane Conti

    Didn’t he know that he and the family could have easily absconded to Israel and not face extradition? Silly boy! Must have had one hell of a life insurance policy, suicide clause had probably just expired.

  • katkal

    my gosh what the poor wife&mother must be going through- Bernie- I hope you hurt every day of your life- you have hurt everyone you touched in this life..

  • Vengeance is Mine

    The whole family was involved in the fraud. Bernard took the fall to avoid his family getting investigated. The authorities were closing in. I want the bankers to go to jail too. Goldman Sachs, etc.

    • 6degrees

      If you have evidence to support your allegation, you should bring it to the attention of the US Attorney’s office of the Southern District of NY. Otherwise, your baseless accusation is nothing more than that.

  • vj

    must of had a guilty concience

    • H Marks

      He was Jewish, so….no. Even Bernie said his investors deserved to be bilked.

  • Keith

    The sins of the father’s are visited upon the son’s. It is one of the oldest premises in literature [thank you Bill Shakespeare!] and apparently still holds water today.

  • aldous huxley

    Now it’s your turn Bernard. Lucifer is waiting for you. He’s going to put you up in the special “Hitler Wing” of hell.

    • Beelzebub

      This is all very exciting. >:)

    • Hank

      Is that the same wing as in the movie Little Nicky with Adam Sandler where Hitler gets a pineapple shoved up his ass every day?

      • Richard Olveda


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