Yesterday morning, the body of Mark Madoff was found hanging from a dog leash in his Soho apartment, while his two-year-old son was sleeping in another room. While no note was found, it's believed the 46-year-old son of infamous Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff committed suicide, based on desperate e-mails he sent to his lawyer and wife at 4 a.m. A Daily News source said of a message to his wife, "It basically sounded like he couldn't take it anymore. At one point he said something like, 'You'll have a better life if I'm not around ...I love you,'" and suggested she and their kids "would be better off without 'this' hanging over them all, forever. He all but said he was going to kill himself."
According to the Post, Madoff wrote to his lawyer, "No one wants to hear the truth... Take care of my family." Then, "In two messages sent to wife Stephanie, he said, 'I love you" -- and then alerted her to "send someone to take care of Nick,' the source said. A freaked-out Stephanie -- at Disney World in Orlando with her mom, Arlene, and 4-year-old daughter, Audrey -- then dispatched her stepfather, high-powered lawyer Martin London, to the apartment in the swank building." London was the one who made the discovery at the 158 Mercer Street apartment and called police.
A police source told the News that "Madoff - wearing khaki pants, a dark blue pullover shirt and white socks - knotted the black leash around a steel pole in a lighting rack on the living room ceiling." The Post has a photograph of Madoff and a dog on its front page—with an enlargement of the leash—and the headline "End Of His Rope" (the Daily News' cover is relatively classy in comparison).
Madoff was allegedly more and more distraught over his father's crime—Bernard Madoff was arrested two years ago yesterday—and while he had been sued for ill-gotten gains related to the Ponzi scheme before, last week, his children were mentioned in the latest suit from Irving Picard, the trustee in charge of locating assets for victims. He and his brother worked for Bernard L. Madoff Investments in the securities trading division (Bernie allegedly kept his Ponzi scheme separate, though in the same office), and Picard accused the Madoff sons of taking tens of millions from the company for lavish lifestyles. While Mark Madoff was not charged criminally, he apparently felt that criminal charges were more likely. Picard said yesterday, "This is a tragic development, and my sympathy goes out to Mark Madoff's family."
According to the Wall Street Journal, Madoff, who also had two children from a previous marriage, was trying to come up with new career ideas. A friend, John Giesea, chief executive of the Security Traders Association, said one idea was "an application that would bring customized information to iPads or other digital devices based on a person's professional interests" and that "Madoff had been using office space in Manhattan in recent months and pitching the idea to various potential partners." Giesea said, "He was a young man who was intelligent, articulate and confident, without being arrogant."
Ira Sorkin, Bernard Madoff's lawyer, said he was unable to get in touch with his client, who is serving a 150-year sentence at federal prison in North Carolina. Sorkin did say, "I’m very sure he has been informed. This is a great tragedy on many, many levels." Prisoners may request to attend funerals, and prison official told the Times that those are decided on a case-by-case basis. A lawyer for Madoff's mother said, "Ruth is heartbroken." Mark Madoff had not spoken to his parents since his father's arrest, on the advice of his lawyer.