Tragedy struck the Madoff family this past weekend. The Madoff family became national news after Bernie Madoff was arrested in 2008 for defrauding investors of billions of dollars, one of the largest white collar crime schemes known today.
But while Bernie Madoff is in prison serving a 150-year sentence for his part in the scheme, his oldest son Mark committed suicide on Saturday. It was just three days after he and his brother were named as defendants in a multi-million dollar lawsuit in connection with their father's crimes.
Mark Madoff and his brother Andrew were the initial whistle-blowers, informing federal investigators of their father's fraudulent activities and purportedly saving investors millions of dollars. Though Bernie Madoff was arrested and convicted, the investigation did not close but continued against other members of his family, including his sons.
Another of Madoff's sons allegedly participated in backdating transactions in order to withdraw millions of dollars from investor accounts for his own use. Then, last week Mark Madoff and Andrew Madoff were both accused of knowing about their father's financial scheme and failing to report it earlier.
The attorney for the Madoff brothers holds that they were not aware of their father's actions and were not involved in any way. But the unexpected death of Mark Madoff has made it more difficult for investigators to determine whether he knew of his father's crimes before reporting them.
Being accused of a white collar crime can have serious consequences, not only for the individual being accused but also for their family and close friends. Though there is no information yet about why Mark Madoff committed suicide, many will wonder whether it was because of the recent accusations brought against him.
Details of the tragedy have been released but the Madoff family has not yet commented on what happened.
Source: The Associated Press online, "Madoff son's suicide followed battle with trustee," 12 December 2010