Madoff's son found hanged two years after arrest

Mark Madoff
Mark Madoff
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By Colleen Long and Tom Hays
Sunday, December 12, 2010

NEW YORK - Disgraced financier Bernard L. Madoff's eldest son hanged himself 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, according to law enforcement officials.

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.

Although Mark Madoff was not known to be facing arrest, he and other relatives have remained under investigation and been named in 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 - hanging from a black dog leash - after he sent an e-mail early Saturday morning to his wife, Stephanie, saying that someone should check on their 2-year-old son, law enforcement officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak publicly about the death.

Madoff's wife, who was visiting Disney World in Florida with her 4-year-old daughter, sent her stepfather to the home. The toddler was found unharmed.

Bernard Madoff, 72, swindled a long list of investors out of billions of dollars. He admitted to running his scheme for at least two decades, cheating thousands of individuals, charities, celebrities and institutional investors. Losses are estimated at about $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.

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.

Calls to the FBI and U.S. Attorney's office were not immediately returned. Previously, spokesmen 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.

- Associated Press


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