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Mark Madoff’s Suicide: The Sins of the Father?

Very sadly, Mark Madoff, son of Bernie, took his life yesterday…

Mark Madoff began sending alarming emails to his wife in the wee hours of Saturday morning, implying he was ready to end it all. According to reports, he’d written something like, “You’ll have a better life if I’m not around…I love you.”

Vacationing at Disney World with their 4-year-old daughter, Madoff’s wife summoned her father to their tony SoHo (Manhattan) condominium. And at 7:27 a.m. he found his son-in-law dead, hanging by a dog leash from a steel pole in a lighting rack on the living room ceiling. He was 46.

Bernie Madoff was informed of his son’s death inside a federal prison. No reaction has been reported; however, Mark’s mother is said to be heartbroken. Mark hadn’t spoken to either of them in two years.

The suicide took place on the two year anniversary of Bernie Madoff’s arrest.

It seems Mark Madoff could never claw above shame and suspicion after his father’s 2008 conviction for swindling some $65 billion from investors. Though he was never charged with any crimes, rumor has it both he and his brother were aware of what their father was up to.

Those close to Mark report emotional and legal pressures were beginning to tear him apart. Just last week, his three children were sued by the trustee assigned to repay the investors his father swindled. Mark was said to be shaken, distraught, and depressed by the action.

Mark had already been sued a year ago for $66 million in “ill-gotten gains.” And the story goes he’d become increasingly overwhelmed by his fear of following his father to federal prison.

Now, according to Mark’s lawyer, Bernie Madoff was to blame for his death. Martin Flumenbaum stated…

“Mark was an innocent victim of his father’s monstrous crime, who succumbed to two years of unrelenting pressure from false accusations and innuendo.”

Interesting comment, to say the least. But, remember, it came from a lawyer. At any rate, what do you think? Were the sins of the father responsible for this tragedy? Was Mark Madoff “an innocent victim?”

I, for one, would be hard pressed to call Mark Madoff an innocent victim. But that has nothing to do with his reported knowledge of, and involvement in, his father’s crime. The fact of the matter is, I know nothing about it.

However, I do know adults are responsible for their own lives, and as tragic as the outcome of his decision was – he made it.

I have absolutely no desire to pass judgment on Mark Madoff. I didn’t know the man, his circumstances, or his emotional and mental health history. No, the point of this piece is to stimulate discussion regarding whether or not the sins of the father, or anyone else, are directly responsible for tragedies such as the Mark Madoff suicide.

My condolences to his family and friends.

Powerful feelings or thoughts? Why not share with all of us in a comment?

  • karen

    it is indeed tragic when someone takes their life-but so selfish. It was his choice, and I don’t know why he did it, if he was indeed a victim,(albeit a well compensated one) or also responsible. It’s hard to imagine he was unaware of his father’s crimes, and even harder to imagine the angst of turning his father in. Ironic that it happened while you were in the middle of the narcissism series. I feel very badly for his family and friends. and didn’t i read his 2 year old was at home???????

    • Indeed, the irony of the event occurring in the midst of our narcissism series is rich. Yes, his 2-year-old was sleeping in another room. The family’s labradoodle was also there. I don’t pretend to know the man’s emotional and mental status; however, I would agree it was a selfish act. Of course, he may be absolutely correct that his death will make life easier on his family – very superficially, anyway. Again, I never knew the man, but so often men and women “in his station” view the value of life in material terms. That’s terribly sad, but I guess that’s what happens when one chooses to live their life “neck up.” Thanks for sharing, Karen…