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Death of Bernard Madoff's elder son is ruled a suicide

Mark Madoff hanged himself, the New York medical examiner's office says.

December 13, 2010|By Duke Helfand, Los Angeles Times
  • Representatives from the New York City medical examiner's office remove the body of Mark Madoff, the son of convicted Ponzi scheme mastermind Bernie Madoff, from the building where he was found dead, an apparent suicide.
Representatives from the New York City medical examiner's office… (EPA / Justin Lane )

New York medical examiners Sunday ruled the death of Bernard Madoff's elder son a suicide, one day after his body was found hanging in his Manhattan apartment.

Mark Madoff, 46, hanged himself early Saturday with a dog leash in his living room. Madoff took his life on the second anniversary of his father's arrest in the largest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history.

An autopsy Sunday revealed the cause of death.

"It is suicide by hanging," medical examiner's office spokeswoman Ellen Borakove said.

Madoff's father-in-law found his body about 7:30 a.m. Saturday, authorities said. Madoff's 2-year-old son and dog were in the apartment but unharmed. The father-in-law checked on the apartment after Madoff's wife, out of town on vacation, received messages from her husband that caused her to worry, police said.

Madoff and his brother, Andrew, reportedly turned their father in to authorities after he confessed his crime in December 2008. Neither of Madoff's sons has been criminally charged, but prosecutors said they are continuing to investigate the case.

Both sons and members of their families have been sued by a trustee recovering assets for Bernard Madoff's victims. In lawsuits filed last week, trustee Irvine Picard named the brothers along with Mark Madoff's children, his wife and his former wife as defendants.

On Sunday, a lawyer for Picard said the trustee would continue with lawsuits against Mark Madoff, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Both Madoff sons denied knowing about their father's fraud.

A spokeswoman for Mark Madoff's attorney, Martin Flumenbaum, declined to comment Sunday. On Saturday, Flumenbaum defended his client, saying in a statement that Madoff "was an innocent victim of his father's monstrous crime who succumbed to two years of unrelenting pressure from false accusations and innuendo."

Seven associates of Bernard Madoff have been charged with crimes since the fraud was uncovered two years ago. Bernard Madoff is serving a 150-year sentence in a federal prison in North Carolina. The prison would not comment on whether Madoff was aware of his son's death or whether he would be allowed to attend the funeral.

duke.helfand@latimes.com

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