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Saturday
Dec112010

Bernard Madoff's Son Found Dead of Apparent Suicide

Bernard Madoff. Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A son of jailed Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff was found hanged inside his New York City apartment Saturday in what sources tell ABC News is being investigated as a suicide.

Mark Madoff's body was discovered by his father-in-law at approximately 7:30 a.m., two years to the day -- and at almost the precise hour and minute -- that Mark Madoff's father was arrested by the FBI. One of his children, a 2-year-old, was home asleep when the body was found. Madoff's wife, Stephanie, and the couple's second child were not home at the time.

Madoff had used a black dog leash to hang himself, police said. His labradoodle was found nearby.

He left behind a short email message to his wife, but no explanation of why he chose to take his life.

Mark Madoff is the older of Bernard and Ruth Madoff's two sons, who worked with their father in the family investing firm.  The father's huge fraud against clients of that firm came to light almost exactly two years ago to the day, when it was revealed he had swindled investors out of billions of dollars.

Mark Madoff and his brother Andrew were under investigation but were not tried in the case that sent their father to prison and saw the family's assets, right down to used clothing and household linens, auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Sources close to the family said no one could have seen the suicide coming, although Madoff, 46, had been distraught, felt unemployable, and was sure that he would never be able to extricate himself from the thickets of notoriety.

"Mark was an innocent victim of his father's monstrous crime who succumbed to two years of unrelenting pressure from false accusations and innuendo," Mark Madoff's attorney, Martin Flumenbaum, said in a statement. "We are all deeply saddened by this shocking turn of events."

Bernard Madoff pleaded guilty in March 2009 to federal crimes that landed him a 150-year sentence in federal prison.

Saturday is the deadline for so-called "clawback" lawsuits aimed at recovering funds lost through Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme. On Friday a suit was filed against Austrian banker Sonja Kohn for $19.6 billion - the largest lawsuit launched to date to recover money for victims of Madoff's decades-long fraud.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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