Ruth Madoff Blames Her Husband; Son’s Suicide Won’t Stop the Lawsuits

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Outside Mark Madoff's Soho apartment at 158 Mercer Street. Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

Jerry Oppenheimer, author of the biography Madoff With the Money, tells the New York Post that Ruth Madoff blames her husband for their son Mark's suicide. Quoting family friends and relatives, Oppenheimer said, Ruth believes Mark "would not have died if it weren't for what [Bernie] had done," adding that she's "totally disgusted with [Bernie] and blames him for her son's death. She thinks this is the end of the family." Mark hung himself with his labradoddle Grouper's leash from a pipe in his living room, ten feet from his 2-year-old son, who was asleep. It happened on the two-year anniversary of his father's arrest. The day Bernie Madoff confessed to the "giant Ponzi scheme," Mark and his brother, Andrew, turned him in to authorities and haven't spoken to him since. Oppenheimer added, "Family members don't think [Bernie's] going to survive this." Mark's grisly suicide "has made him realize what this whole thing has all been about. It's a Greek tragedy." It sounds more Biblical than Greek to us (see: "iniquities of the father"). In fact, Mark, who often asked how a father could do this to his sons, had been particularly distraught in the days leading up to his suicide that three of his young children had been named in civil lawsuits over the multi-billion dollar scheme.

In e-mails before his suicide, Mark, who has maintained his innocence, said, "No one wants to hear the truth," and urged his wife, Stephanie, to "send someone to take care of Nick," their son.

No criminal charges have been filed against Mark Madoff or his brother, but the probe by federal prosecutors is still ongoing. The civil suit by Irving Picard, the court-appointed bankruptcy trustee, against the family named Mark for $200 million in an effort to recover funds. His suicide won't deter the suit, which accused him of receiving at least $66.9 million improperly through his father's investment fund. It also alleges that family members spent tens of millions on lavish homes and luxury goods.

Saturday was the deadline for at least 1,000 individual civil lawsuits that seek to recover more than $50 billion. Picard said he expected hundreds of those to be settled before they go to the court and the rest to head to trial.

Mark Madoff, who friends say was broke and unable to find a job on Wall Street, had resorted to developing an iPad app. He had worked for his father's company since 1986, but on the trading side of the business, which was generally kept separate from the investment scheme. A Wall Street trader and friend of Mark's said details he gave made him believe his friend's innocence. As an example, the trader told the Journal that Mark said Bernie Madoff "even controlled how the chairs in the conference room were arranged under the table."

His son's death follows three other suicides related to Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme.

Madoff's wife tells kin Bernie's Ponzi shame drove son to kill self [NYP]
Suicide Won't End Madoff Lawsuits [WSJ]
Litigation Against Mark Madoff to Continue Despite Suicide [Daily Finance]
Madoff Lawsuits Are Headed for Court [NYT]