Madoff son found dead in New York

Mark Madoff, the elder son of convicted swindler Bernard Madoff, was found hanged in his New York City apartment in an apparent suicide.

Madoff son found dead in New York

Mark Madoff, the elder son of convicted swindler Bernard Madoff, was found hanged in his New York City apartment in an apparent suicide on the second anniversary of his father's arrest, police and his lawyer said on Saturday.

He was found dead in his apartment in the city's SoHo neighborhood, New York City police spokesman Paul Browne said.

Bernard Madoff, 72, is serving a 150-year prison sentence after confessing to running a decades-long Ponzi scheme that bilked investors out of billions, considered the biggest financial fraud in history.

"Mark Madoff took his own life today. This is a terrible and unnecessary tragedy," Martin Flumenbaum, a lawyer for Mark Madoff and his younger brother, Andrew, said in a statement. "Mark was an innocent victim of his father's monstrous crime."

Mark Madoff's 2-year-old son was in the apartment when the body was discovered by his father-in-law, said police at the scene who declined to be identified.

The Madoff sons and other family members had worked for Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, which crumbled when the Ponzi scheme was revealed. Bernard Madoff was arrested on Dec. 11, 2008, after his sons turned him in to authorities. The sons said Madoff had confessed the fraud to them a day earlier.

Defrauded Madoff investors have long viewed the convicted swindler's sons, wife and other family members suspiciously, arguing it is impossible that they did not know about his lies. No family members have been criminally charged and they reject accusations that they were aware of the fraud.

Mark Madoff, a married father of four, was distraught over speculation about potential criminal charges against him, said a person familiar with his activities but who was not authorized to speak publicly about him. There was no indication that any charges were imminent, the source said.

The Wall Street Journal reported in February that Bernard Madoff's sons and brother were the subject of criminal tax-fraud probes by federal prosecutors in Manhattan.

In the past two years, Mark Madoff had not spoken with either of his parents, the source close to him said. The person said that Mark Madoff had tried unsuccessfully to get a Wall Street trading job after his father's arrest.

"Lawsuits"

Mark Madoff and other family members have been sued by the court-appointed trustee trying to recover money for investors defrauded in the Ponzi scheme, a fraud in which early investors are paid with money from new ones. The schemes often collapse when sufficient investors can't be lined up or when a number of investors want to cash out.

Trustee Irving Picard says they should have known about the $65 billion fraud and must return money they used to support lavish lifestyles, including luxury homes and expensive meals.

Earlier this week, the trustee also sued five Madoff grandchildren, including children of Mark Madoff, for millions purportedly transferred to them. The trustee has sued an array of defendants for more than $50 billion in total, filing a flurry of cases in recent days before the statute of limitations expired this weekend.

In an October 2009 lawsuit, the trustee said Mark Madoff and other family members who worked at the firm were "completely derelict in duties and responsibilities."

The trustee on Saturday called Mark Madoff's death a tragic development.

The Madoff scandal shook investors around the world and sparked criticism of market regulators for failing to catch him despite warnings and tips over many years.

For decades, investors big and small flocked to the New York-based money manager, hoping to gain entree onto his seemingly exclusive client list as he promised steady returns that defied the broader markets. In reality, Madoff always was seeking new investors to keep his scheme running.

Madoff has insisted he acted alone. Since he pleaded guilty in March 2009, seven other people have been arrested in the case, including several of his long-time employees and an outside accountant.

Mark Madoff joined the firm in 1986, and he and his brother Andrew went on to run the market making and trading arm of Madoff's business. The trustee says that while that part of the business was ostensibly legitimate, they also played roles at times in the fraudulent investment advisory unit.


Agencies

Last Mod: 12 Aralık 2010, 09:55
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