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Madoff’s son is found dead in apparent suicide in N.Y.

Mark Madoff (left) ‘was an innocent victim of his father’s monstrous crime,’ said his lawyer, Martin Flumenbaum. Mark Madoff (left) ‘was an innocent victim of his father’s monstrous crime,’ said his lawyer, Martin Flumenbaum.
By Colleen Long and Tom Hays
Associated Press / December 12, 2010

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NEW YORK — The eldest son of disgraced financier Bernard Madoff hanged himself by a dog leash in his Manhattan apartment yesterday, the second anniversary of his father’s arrest in a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme that swindled thousands of investors of their life savings, law enforcement officials said.

Mark Madoff, 46, was found hanging from a ceiling pipe in the living room of his SoHo loft apartment as his 2-year-old son slept in a nearby bedroom, two law enforcement officials told the Associated Press.

The law enforcement officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the death.

Madoff, who reported his father to authorities, was never criminally charged in the biggest investment fraud in US history. He and his brother Andrew said they were unaware of their father’s crimes.

But the pair and other Madoff relatives have remained under investigation and been named in multiple investor lawsuits accusing them of profiting from the scheme.

Just days ago, a court-appointed trustee filed a lawsuit seeking to recover any money from the fraud scheme that had been paid to members of the Madoff family, including Mark Madoff’s two young children.

A half dozen employees of Bernard Madoff’s company have also faced criminal charges, but a third law enforcement official said yesterday that Mark was not facing imminent arrest and that investigators pursuing possible charges against him, his brother, and uncle hadn’t contacted him for more than a year. The official wasn’t authorized to speak publicly about the case and spoke on condition of anonymity.

“This is a terrible and unnecessary tragedy,’’ said Martin Flumenbaum, the lawyer for Mark Madoff, in a written statement. “Mark was an innocent victim of his father’s monstrous crime who succumbed to two years of unrelenting pressure from false accusations and innuendo.’’

A lawyer for Mark’s mother, Ruth Madoff, said, “She’s heartbroken.’’ The lawyer, Peter Chavkin, had no further comment.

Mark Madoff’s body was discovered after his wife, Stephanie, became concerned when he sent an e-mail to her Friday night or early yesterday morning that someone should check on their 2-year-old son, law enforcement officials said.

Madoff’s wife, who is at Disney World in Florida with her 4-year-old daughter, sent her stepfather to the home. The toddler was found unharmed.

Bernard Madoff, 72, swindled a long list of investors out of billions of dollars. He admitted that he ran his scheme for at least two decades, cheating thousands of individuals, charities, celebrities, and institutional investors. Losses are estimated at around $20 billion, making it the biggest investment fraud in US history.

He was arrested on Dec. 11, 2008, after confessing his crimes to his sons.

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