Mark Madoff's Suicide

Mark Madoff, Bernie Madoff's son, hanged himself today while his wife was out of town and their two year old son slept in a nearby bedroom.

Today is the second anniversary of the arrest of Bernie Madoff. It was Mark and his brother Andrew who called authorities and turned Bernie in the day after he told them what he had done. No criminal charges had been brought against Mark, although civil lawsuits were plentiful.

How sad. The New York Times has more here and the New York Post here.

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    comment with insult deleted (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 03:42:38 PM EST
    we don't speak ill of the dead here. Please take those comments elsewhere.

    Interesting.... (5.00 / 0) (#16)
    by ks on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 07:16:10 PM EST
    All this talk of "better choices" and rough justice". As Jeralyn pointed out he and his brother went to the authorities one DAY after their father told them the truth.

    When you consider that Madoff was running his scam for DECADES, let's look at what that meant for his sons and the decision they were faced with....

    They GREW UP thinking their father was a legit high flying banker and living a lifestyle most could only dream of and then they found out the truth which possibly made them accomplices. What to do?  Shutup and keep your family's lifestyle, your lifestyle, your kids lifestyle and all of your futures intact?  After all, why not just shutup?  You're dealing with an industry that routinely derides victims as "suckers who made poor choices". Or, do you do the right thing, and turn your father in and watch it all fall apart?  

    How many of you here would have chosen the former as opposed to the latter?  

    Well, while I probably have less sympathy for Mark Madoff as opposed to the average Joe, I still feel for his plight and can't imagine what it was like to be so despondent that you finally  cross the line and kill yourself with your 2 year old kid in the other room.

    To use an old saying that I sometimes remind myself of when I get irritated by some sadsack homeless person..."There for the Grace of God Go I..."

    It's only a difficult choice if he didn't know. (none / 0) (#17)
    by Mitch Guthman on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 08:27:23 PM EST
    If they weren't involved then, yes, it's Sophie's Choice, a real double bind situation.  On the other hand, it seems far more likely that the brothers and their mother were deeply involved in the fraud and the decision to go to the police wasn't so much an excruciatingly difficult moral choice as an exercise in damage control.

    Damage control it was (none / 0) (#18)
    by ruffian on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 08:38:51 PM EST
    Bernie Madoff only told his sons because it was about to come crashing down and be exposed anyway. The brothers going to the authorities sped up and somewhat sanitized the process, but also saved themselves. Maybe they would have gone to the authorities if they had known about the scheme during its heydey, maybe not. We'll never know what, if any, moral choices the brothers made.

    In any event, I feel sorry for his wife and children. May they find some peace.


    they could have been deluding themselves (none / 0) (#19)
    by desmoinesdem on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 08:53:52 PM EST
    With hindsight, so many investors who got burned by Madoff should have known something was off--there were plenty of red flags. But there's a big leap from "should have suspected" to "must have" known/been involved in the fraud.

    Think about how many people are willfully blind to a family member's substance abuse or whatever secret would be embarrassing to them. I could easily see Madoff's relatives ignoring red flags that should have tipped them off about the criminal activity.


    It's always sad (none / 0) (#1)
    by jbindc on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 01:09:08 PM EST
    When someone gets to a point in their life where they think they have no other option than suicide.

    What was his option? (none / 0) (#2)
    by SOS on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 01:31:33 PM EST
    His life and reputation is totally ruined. Stand on a street corner freezing to death holding out a cup?

    Well (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by jbindc on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 02:01:56 PM EST
    We could argue the merits of making better life decisions so as not have been in that position in the first place, but what would be the point?

    He had a family - there's always an answer. It's just sad all the way around.


    Start over. Help others. (5.00 / 11) (#4)
    by Anne on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 02:12:59 PM EST
    Volunteer.  Teach.  Give talks.

    Get help.

    Easy for us to second-guess what someone else's options are; we haven't walked in his shoes, and have no idea what he tried before he chose death.

    I'm sorry and sad for anyone who gets to that point, and sorrier still for the people he leaves behind, who, for the rest of their lives, will be wondering if there was one more thing they could have done, one sign they missed, one thing they said or didn't say, that could have made the difference.

    That's a heavy burden that won't be lifted easily.


    very nicely said (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 02:40:57 PM EST
    your comment about others wondering what they could have done.

    suicide (none / 0) (#15)
    by jharp on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 05:55:01 PM EST
    I lost a friend to suicide.

    He was paralyzed, I think a C6 quad, after a jujutsu accident.

    I always have felt a little guilt over him choosing death, and wonder to this day if my friends and I could have done more to give him more of a reason to live.

    And I never once questioned his choice or felt that he had let anyone down.


    Has any comment on TalkLeft ever (none / 0) (#25)
    by Peter G on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 11:17:28 AM EST
    elicited more enthusiastic approval than Anne's on this topic @ #4?

    This is why I cannot and will not (none / 0) (#10)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 04:15:00 PM EST
    ever hate on Michael Vick.

    Exactly right, Anne (none / 0) (#11)
    by Zorba on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 04:33:31 PM EST
    Suicide is such a sad and very complex option for some people.  It is done in desperation, in depression, in anguish, and, yes, sometimes in anger.  I know that many people criticize suicides as "selfish" and not thinking of those left behind, and in a certain sense, that's true.  However, their despair and mental state is such that they cannot rationally think of other options or of their loved ones who must suffer the anguish of their suicide.  This is very, very sad for his children and his loved ones.  I don't know how much he was aware truly of his father's misdeeds, but from what I have read, it seems as though he did not (although he may have been living in somewhat of a highly paid fantasy world, and also, who is prepared to believe the worst of their parents, anyway?).  Along with his brother, he reported on his father to the feds, which resulted in his father's (essentially) life sentence.  Who among us could live comfortably with this guilt?  

    Everything depends on why he went to the feds (none / 0) (#20)
    by Mitch Guthman on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 09:48:26 PM EST
    You are making the assumption that he felt badly about turning in his father to the feds. Implicit in the assumption is the further assumption that he was neither aware of the fraud nor a part of it.  That's certainly possible.

    But there's a lot of reason to suppose that he at least knew what his dad was doing and quite probably was an active participant in the fraud.  We'll have to see how the criminal and civil cases play out but my money is on him being "in the loop" and very probably a major player. If so, I feel sorry for his family but not for him.  


    I still feel sorry for him (none / 0) (#21)
    by desmoinesdem on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 10:32:17 PM EST
    but I feel more sorry for his family and for all the people who might have benefited from the work of the foundations Madoff destroyed, like the JEHT Foundation.

    I (none / 0) (#12)
    by lentinel on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 05:22:09 PM EST
    think about the two year son who will never know his father.

    Somehow I think that a feeling of responsibility or love for a child - especially a two year old - could bring someone back from the brink.

    My heart goes on to the child. It doesn't seem fair.


    He has (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Zorba on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 05:37:00 PM EST
    a four-year-old, too, as well as two older children from his first marriage.

    Other people have had it the same (5.00 / 0) (#8)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 04:09:15 PM EST
    and worse.

    True, but he did have a family (none / 0) (#14)
    by Mitch Guthman on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 05:40:49 PM EST
    There is a sense of rough justice, it's true.   I was pleased to see his life unraveled.  He and his family destroyed so many lives and did it very cavalierly and with great relish. He obviously cared nothing for anyone else.  If there is a 9th circle, he is probably already there where he is probably going to be joined by his parents, his brother and his uncle. That is where they belong. Even that would be inadequate justice.

    I am not such a hypocrite that I would give him or his family a pass, alive or dead. Even so, it is a terrible thing for his children to lose a parent and they are deserving of our sympathy.  They are both much too young to understand this. For those children, this is tragedy not justice---no matter how much of a crook he was, daddy is still daddy.  The loss of a parent and the reversal of their family's fortunes are a terrible thing for them and should not be ridiculed. I think they are as much Bernie Madoff's victims as the people he cheated out of their money.

    Even his parents and brother are deserving of a bit of sympathy.  They are very bad people but still I can't imagine what's it's like to bury your child.

    The surprising thing is how poorly all the whole family prepared for the end game.  I always thought that a bunch of arch-criminals would have a bolt-hole like Asil Nadir or Robert Vesco did.  Someplace small but corrupt where they could make good connections over the years, burrowing themselves into the fabric of society---funding politicians retirements, hospitals, schools.  Or maybe someplace like Italy or Austria where they appear to have had powerful, local partners and where it might be difficult to give up Madoff to the Americans without harming their well-connected local partners.  

    I suspect that if Madoff wanted, he could probably still be living in his penthouse with years more appeals still to come.  I wonder if it bothers him that he destroyed his whole family, including his grandchildren.  I suspect it doesn't bother him that much.  (Which is unfortunate)


    typical criminal's blind spot (none / 0) (#22)
    by desmoinesdem on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 10:33:19 PM EST
    assuming you'll never get caught. Why shouldn't he have assumed that, considering all the red flags the regulators ignored over the years?

    Not just red flags, (none / 0) (#24)
    by Harry Saxon on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 08:49:29 AM EST
    but active warnings as well, from The London Times:

    In a three-hour hearing, Mr Markopolos explained in detail how he had "gift-wrapped the largest Ponzi scheme in history" for the SEC to use to investigate Mr Madoff, but that the regulators "could not be bothered because they had higher priorities". He said: "If it had not been for the market downturn, [Madoff] could easily have gone to $100 billion. The SEC would never have caught him. He had to have run out of money first."

    Mr Markopolos, now an independent fraud investigator, claims that he has uncovered another, separate $1 billion fraud, of which he will give details to regulators today. He said that, by using publicly available documents, he realised within four hours that Mr Madoff was operating a scam: "The SEC had enough to get Madoff. I drew them pictures. I gave them a road map. I told them what questions to ask and who to phone."

    He described how he had approached the Boston regional office of the SEC but soon realised that his tip-offs would not be taken seriously by either Boston, the New York office or the regulator's head office in Washington. This was because all the state offices were suspicious of each other.

    Click Me


    I was not pleased (none / 0) (#26)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 09:32:51 PM EST
    to see the innocent that Madoff harmed.  Growing up the child of the "magic man", I would have had a huge blind spot for him and what was going down too.  It happened for decades unchecked.  I am not pleased what has happened to his family, and now his grandchildren.  I think it is very hard to survive having everything you own likely taken from you for God knows how long.  And you have to survive the notoriety.

    It is very sad (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 04:13:39 PM EST
    But when your father is as dysfunctional as Bernie Madoff you never got to learn many coping skills I'm certain.  No matter how his life would have gone down, he would have needed a lot more than courage than was ever demonstrated to him.  Some people are incredibly lucky to survive the influence of their parents.  He was not so lucky and probably could not find the support system he needed either to survive this.  My heart goes out to him and his family tonight.

    Dysfunctional? Far from it! (none / 0) (#23)
    by Mr Natural on Sat Dec 11, 2010 at 11:36:31 PM EST
    Please... Give credit where credit is due.  Bernie was a master criminal, a sociopath of the first order, one of the greatest liars in human history.

    Bernie is now free (none / 0) (#27)
    by MKS on Mon Dec 13, 2010 at 01:49:18 PM EST
    He just finished working for a Pizza Shop in Baltimore as sort of halfway house.  He finished his sentence in prison and home confinement.

    Free--but he lost his son.  


    It is Jack Abramoff, not Bernie Madoff (none / 0) (#28)
    by MKS on Mon Dec 13, 2010 at 01:54:57 PM EST
    who is now free...