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Mark Madoff commits suicide two years after his father’s arrest, Picard to pursue suit

Monday, December 13, 2010
Opalesque Industry Update – On the second anniversary of the arrest of Bernard Madoff who perpetuated the largest investment fraud ever recorded in history, his eldest son, 46-year-old Mark, was found dead hanging from a black dog leash in an apparent suicide Saturday, according to news reports. Mark’s two year-old son slept in another room, oblivious to the violence that ended his father’s life and the tumultuous name that he carries.

Although no suicide note was left behind, Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the New York City Medical examiner announced that the autopsy on Mark’s body was completed and officially ruled suicide as the cause of death on Sunday, reported CNN. Borakove added that further toxicology and tissues tests would be conducted on the body, but the results of the tests will not be made public unless the victim’s next of kin asks for the case file.

People close to Mark said he had been upset over the continued attention the case of his father had generated and that he had been struggling to find a stable job after he and his brother Andrew revealed their father’s decade-long multi-billion Ponzi scheme to the police. Mark and Andrew’s discussions with police following their father’s confession, led to Bernard Madoff’s arrest on Dec. 11, 2008.

The Madoff fraud drew in multiple family members who worked within the firm. Mark had worked with his father at the company since 1986, said AP, quoting court documents, and Andrew since 1988. Shana Madoff, the lawyer daughter of Peter Madoff (Bernard’s brother), had worked there since 1995 as compliance counsel and in-house counsel.

Terrible loss
Mark Madoff's attorney, Martin Flumenbaum said in a statement, "This is a terrible and unnecessary tragedy. Mark was an innocent victim of his father's monstrous crime who succumbed to two years of unrelenting pressure from false accusations and innuendo."

As of press time, no immediate members of the Madoff family issued any statement concerning Mark’s suicide. But Peter Chavkin, who represents the victim’s mother, Ruth, said she is “heartbroken,” CNN said. In an email, Chavkin said Ruth would not be issuing any additional statement.

Mark’s wife, Stephanie, was vacationing at Disney World in Florida with her 4-year-old daughter when she received emails from her husband, including a message that he loved her and that someone should check on their two-year-old son Nicolas.

In February, Stephanie asked a court to change her last name and the last names of their two children to Morgan, citing threats and humiliation brought by the scandal.

Picard to continue suits against Mark
Irving Picard, the court-appointed trustee recovering assets for victims of Bernard Madoff, said he would continue with the lawsuits against Mark despite his suicide, said The Wall Street Journal.

Picard issued a statement on Saturday saying, "This is a tragic development, and my sympathy goes out to Mark Madoff's family."

Slew of cases filed by Picard
Last week, Picard and his team filed a slew of lawsuits to recover assets for Madoff’s victims. The suits included Mark and Andrew, as well as their uncle, Peter. The trio were included in the cased filed in a London court in a bid to recover at least $80m from the international arm of Madoff’s business.

Picard filed the lawsuit in the UK's High Court of Justice Commercial Court to recover funds that flowed through Madoff Securities International Limited, including money used to buy luxury goods and services enjoyed by the Madoff family such as a yacht and a home in the south of France, reported NYPost.com.

Both Mark and Andrew previously claimed they “were victims too” of their father’s criminal activities, said the Wall Street Journal.

In March 2010, Flumenbaum filed in court to include Mark and Andrew as “victims” of Bernard’s scheme, telling the court that the brothers were responsible for alerting authorities, which eventually led to the arrest of Bernard Madoff, shortly after their father revealed to them he had been secretly running a decades-long Ponzi scheme.

Both Mark and Andrew had not spoken to their parents since Bernard’s arrest.

- Precy Dumlao

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