Saturday, December 11, 2010
Mark Madoff, oldest son of Bernie Madoff, hangs himself with dog leash in SoHo apartment
The eldest son of disgraced Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff hung himself Saturday with a dog leash on the second anniversary of his dad's arrest in the stunning $65 billion ripoff.
Mark Madoff, in desperate early morning e-mails to his wife, said he could no longer live with the curse put on the family by his disgraced dad, sources told the Daily News.
"At one point he said something like, 'You'll have a better life if I'm not around ... I love you ... Our son needs someone here,'" one source told the News.
Madoff, 46, was discovered hanging from a pipe inside the living room of his luxurious Mercer St. home in Soho around 7:30 a.m. by his father-in-law, who immediately called 911, the sources indicated.
Mark Madoff's 2-year-old son was asleep in another room, sources said, and his pet labradoodle was also in the home.
A despondent Madoff wrote his wife Stephanie that their family "would be better off without 'this' hanging over them all, forever," a second source said.
"He all but said he was going to kill himself - pointed enough for the wife to fear for his safety, and their child's safety."
Madoff's wife, who was out of town, was so upset that she called her father and sent him to the condo. The couple had two children, son Nicholas and older daughter Audrey.
The blood of the son was on the hands of his father, according to Mark Madoff's lawyer.
"Mark was an innocent victim of his father's monstrous crime, who succumbed to two years of unrelenting pressure from false accusations and innuendo," said his attorney, Martin Flumenbaum.
"We are all deeply saddened by this shocking turn of events."
NYPD detectives stood outside the family home as an SUV from the medical examiner's office arrived Saturday morning.
A police source describing the crime scene said Mark Madoff wore khaki pants, a dark blue pullover and white socks when he took his life.
Madoff's body was brought out of the posh building, where the condo owners include Jon Bon Jovi, at 12:22 p.m.
Mark Madoff joined his father's crooked business in 1986 and is a defendant in numerous civil suits, but he faces no criminal charges.
A law enforcement source said Mark Madoff was becoming increasingly concerned that would change.
"The son knew he was in the cross hairs," the source said. "At first he thought he would somehow skate, but once \[the trustee recovering assets for investors\] detailed the family theft, he knew his time was limited."
One day before his body was discovered, Madoff stopped by the garage where he parked his 2008 black Land Rover to drop off a Christmas card and a $400 tip.