Mark Madoff, the oldest son of jailed financial criminal Bernie Madoff, was found dead in his New York City apartment this morning. The younger Madoff was 46. He was discovered by his father-in-law. His 2-year-old son was asleep in the apartment at the time.
Whatever you think of Bernie Madoff and his elaborate ponzi scheme that crumbled in 2008, causing grave financial losses to non-profits and myriad individuals, including Elie Wiesel, the death of his son can only be taken as tragic.
Bernie Madoff was turned into the police in December of 2008 by his sons, Andrew and Mark, who allegedly knew nothing about their father’s illegal practices. Madoff’s sons worked for his firm but in a separate branch. The elder Madoff has always insisted they knew nothing of what he was doing in his money management practice and were innocent of any and all wrongdoing. But that didn’t stop serious speculation and criminal investigations into their involvement with their father’s arm of the business.
The New York Times reports that many friends of the sons had savings invested with their father and lost their money when the ponzi scheme fell apart. The Times also reports that Mark Madoff’s wife had sought to legally change the last name of everyone in their family, citing the harassment and threats they’d endured since the scandal broke. In a statement reported on MSNBC, Mark Madoff’s lawyer said: “Mark was an innocent victim of his father’s monstrous crime who succumbed to two years of unrelenting pressure from false accusations and innuendo.”
Bernie Madoff is often portrayed as a cold, unfeeling liar, someone happy to take money and to sneer at those who lost it through him. But Madoff made his own decisions, and even while he has claimed from the start that he never wanted to involve his children in the ponzi scheme, that he wanted to protect them from any involvement with it, to keep them “clean,” there’s no way to protect children, even adult children, from the hard glare of crime and scandal.
Assuming his innocence, the anguish Mark Madoff must have endured was terrible. Our sympathies lie with his wife and son especially. The sins of the father indeed.
What are your thoughts?
photo credit: NY Post