Entries in Bernie Madoff (10)


Stephanie Madoff Fires Back at Ruth Madoff's Suicide Claims

Courtesy Stephanie Madoff Mack(NEW YORK) -- Stephanie Madoff, the widow of convicted Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff's son Mark, has fired back at claims mother-in-law Ruth Madoff made on TV about her own alleged suicide attempt, as well as those brother-in-law Andrew Madoff made in a new book about the family.

Stephanie Madoff said on Anderson Cooper's daytime talk show Anderson Wednesday that she was offended by Ruth Madoff's revelations on CBS' 60 Minutes that she and her husband attempted suicide on Christmas Eve 2008 by swallowing prescription pills.

"I have no idea what went on in that penthouse that night, but for Ruth to talk about trying to kill herself so flippantly like that is so offensive to me, because that's how my husband died," she said.

Stephanie's husband, Mark Madoff, took his life on the second anniversary of his father's arrest in December 2011.  Mark Madoff hanged himself in the couple's New York loft.

"Ruth says she was happy that she woke up.  I'm happy for Ruth that she woke up, but I just wish that my husband had, and he didn't," she said.

Stephanie Madoff, 37, said she was also upset by Ruth's confession in Truth and Consequences: Life Inside the Madoff Family that her husband's infidelity was "the most hurtful thing" that ever happened to her -- more so than the suicide of her son.

"To say that the affair was doesn't make sense to me.  She doesn't make sense to me," she said.

She also took the opportunity to hit back at Andrew Madoff's claims in Truth and Consequences, a book that Andrew Madoff's financee, Catherine Hooper, helped bring about, that Stephanie and Mark had a rocky relationship, and that Stephanie was days away from leaving Mark when he was found hanged.

Though Stephanie said she's shocked and offended by Ruth's comments, Stephanie still believes that her mother-in-law had no knowledge of Bernard Madoff's crimes, and remains undecided as to whether she will allow her young children to have a relationship with their grandmother.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Exclusive: Madoff 'Can Live with' Fraud Victims' Anger, but Not Family's

Mario Tama/Getty Images(BUTNER, N.C.) -- Convicted Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff was forced to "let...go" of his wife almost a year ago and is plagued by "horrible nightmares" as he sits in a North Carolina prison, he told ABC News' Barbara Walters in an exclusive interview.

Though he said he "can live with" the anger of people he defrauded out of billions of dollars, and he is adjusting to the rhythms of life in prison, even at 73 years old, he is troubled by anger and turmoil within his own family.

"Not seeing my family and knowing they hate me" is the worst thing about being in prison, he said. "I betrayed them."

Asked what he'd like to say to his grandchildren, he said, without apparent emotion, "I am sorry to have caused them pain."

As he sat across from Walters during a two-hour conversation at the Federal Correction Complex at Butner, N.C., on Oct. 14, Madoff often seemed to be trying as much as possible to feel no pain himself.

Madoff said he passes the time by reading, recently finishing a book about Wall Street robber barons.

The man who ran a Ponzi scheme of more than $60 billion has held six or seven different jobs in prison, he said, and he makes $170 a month.

He said he is relieved to be free from years of fear he'd be discovered as a fraud and finally has overcome thoughts of suicide.  

Repeatedly throughout the interview he told Walters that he was guilty of the crimes that put him in prison, saying "I deserved to be punished. I deserved to go to jail."

"I feel safer here than outside," Madoff said. "Days go by.  I have people to talk to and no decisions to make...I know that I will die in prison.  I lived the last 20 years of my life in fear.  Now I have no fear -- nothing to think about because I'm no longer in control of my own life."

Though Madoff has people to talk to in prison, his family situation is far more complicated.  He has not spoken to his wife, Ruth Madoff, since after the suicide of their son, Mark Madoff, on Dec. 11, 2010.  And Mark Madoff's widow, Stephanie Madoff Mack, has told ABC News she holds Bernie Madoff responsible for her son's death and, "I'd spit in his face," if she ever saw him again.

Madoff told Walters that his wife used to visit him at the prison weekly and they spoke on the phone daily.  In order to visit Butner, N.C., Ruth Madoff would drive 12 hours alone, stay at a motel overnight and drive 12 hours back to Florida, which was hard on her.

But after their son's suicide, the couple had an emotional final meeting at the prison at which Ruth Madoff "asked me to let her go, which I understood," Madoff said.

Madoff told Walters he has not reached out to his wife since that final meeting.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Bernie Madoff and Wife Ruth Attempted Suicide

Stephanie Madoff(NEW YORK) -- The wife of convicted Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff says that she and Bernie were so upset after the collapse of his multi-billion-dollar fraud that they decided to commit suicide together on Christmas Eve.

"I don't know whose idea it was, but we decided to kill ourselves because it was so horrendous what was happening," Ruth Madoff told Morley Safer of CBS News. "We had terrible phone calls. Hate mail, just beyond anything and I said, '...I just can't go on anymore.'"

Ruth Madoff says that she and her husband downed pills, Ambien and perhaps Klonopin on Christmas Eve 2008, just after their sons Mark and Andrew had turned Bernie into federal authorities. She says she didn't mix the pills with alcohol because she was afraid they would vomit the pills back up.

"I took what we had, he took more," said Ruth. "We took pills and woke up the next day....It was very impulsive and I am glad we woke up."

Ruth's son Mark committed suicide two years later, on Dec. 11, 2010, the second anniversary of his father's arrest. Mark's wife Stephanie told Chris Cuomo of ABC News' 20/20 that Mark felt Ruth was wrong to stand by Bernie.

"He couldn't understand how she could continuously stand by this man who ruined so many lives, who ruined his life," said Stephanie.

Stephanie said she blamed both Ruth and Bernie for her husband Mark's death.

"Yes, I'm angry at her," said Stephanie.

"If you're angry at her," asked Cuomo, "how do you feel about Bernie?"

"I hate Bernie Madoff," answered Stephanie. "If I saw Bernie Madoff right now, I would tell him that I hold him fully responsible for killing my husband and I'd spit in his face."

Ruth went into hiding in Florida after Madoff went to prison, even dying her hair red in an effort to avoid being recognized when she returned to New York.

Bernie Madoff, now 73, is currently serving a 150-year sentence for fraud in a federal prison in North Carolina.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Good News For Madoff Victims: $7.2 Billion Recovered

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In the biggest win yet for victims of Bernie Madoff, the estate of the single biggest beneficiary of Madoff's fraud agreed to pay $7.2 billion to the victims' recovery fund and the Department of Justice.

Irving Picard, the trustee recovering money for Madoff's victims, announced Friday that he had cut a deal with the estate of the late Jeffry Picower that would reap $5 billion for the victims' fund, with another $2.2 billion to be distributed to victims by the U.S. government. Picard had earlier recouped more than $2 billion for victims, meaning he has now made real headway in recovering lost funds; total investor losses have been estimated at about $20 billion.

Picard said the importance of the Picower settlement could not be overstated, "as it shows significant progress in our efforts...Every penny of this $7.2 billion settlement will be distributed to BLMIS [Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities] customers with valid claims."

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara called the settlement "historic" and a "game-changer," and praised Barbara Picower, Picower's widow, for agreeing to it.

"By returning every penny of the $7.2 billion her late husband received from BLMIS to help those who have suffered most, Barbara Picower has done the right thing," said Bharara.

Picower was one of Madoff's early investors and withdrew about $7 billion in profits from his account over three decades. The 67-year-old Palm Beach, Florida philanthropist drowned after suffering a heart attack in his swimming pool on Oct. 25, 2009, just under a year after Madoff's Ponzi scheme unraveled.

Picower's lawyers say he did not know that Madoff's investments were bogus, but the trustee claimed in court papers that Picower should have realized that his profits were unnaturally high and likely based on fraud.

In recent weeks, Picard has filed suits against hundreds of individual investors and big companies like JP Morgan, HSBC and UBS, which bring the total amount sought by Picard in the so-called "clawback" to at least $56 billion.

Through the end of September, Picard had filed 19 lawsuits worth $15.5 billion against longtime individual investors like Picower, members of Madoff's immediate family, and major feeder funds, including those operated by the Fairfield Greenwich Group and J. Ezra Merkin, a prominent Wall Street investment manager.

Picard followed by suing hundreds of individual investors believed to have profited from Madoff's multi-billion-dollar investment scheme by receiving more from Madoff than they invested. Those suits ask for amounts ranging from $500,000 to $60 million, and total $3.5 billion.

The big bank lawsuits started with UBS AG, which Picard and his team of lawyers sued the day before Thanksgiving for $2 billion, an amount later increased to $2.55 billion. JP Morgan was next, sued for $6.4 billion on Dec 2, followed by HSBC, sued for $9 billion on Dec 5. The banks have all denied wrongdoing and have pledged to fight the suits.

Picard last week filed the largest suit to date, asking Austrian banker Sonja Kohn and Medici Group for $19.1 billion, alleging that she masterminded a multinational money-laundering business for Madoff.

Picard was appointed by the court in 2008 to unravel the fraud and help victims recover losses. As of December 8, Picard and his law firm, Baker & Hostetler, have approved around 2,000 victim claims totaling $5.8 billion out of the more than 15,000 claims filed. The firm says they will continue to allow claims after the clawback deadline and by the end of the year, the value of the approved claims should soar to $18 billion.

When the fraud was discovered, there were $65 billion in profits on Madoff's books, but Picard estimates total investor losses to be closer to $20 billion. The lawsuits filed to date ask for far more than that, but they include demands for punitive damages, and the expectation that not all suits will be successful.

Prior to the Picower settlement, Picard had recovered more than $2 billion for victims through asset sales and out-of-court settlements.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Mark Madoff's Wife Says Private Memorial Later This Week

Photo Courtesy - EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Mark Madoff's widow, Stephanie, has announced there will be a private service for Mark Madoff, and asked that she and her family be allowed to grieve privately.

"My husband Mark took his own life," said Stephanie in a statement, "and regardless of what you feel about my father-in-law and his monstrous crimes, Mark's children are innocent victims and this is tragic for them. I am devastated and now raising two small children alone."

"I ask that you please show decency and understanding toward all of Mark's children and allow us to mourn in private."

In the statement, Stephanie said Mark Madoff had been cremated and there would be a private memorial service "later this week at an undisclosed location." She also said she appreciated the expressions of "heartfelt sympathy and support she had received" from people who knew and loved her husband.

"I will miss and love him forever," she said in closing.

Madoff's body was claimed by the funeral director of the Gramercy Park Memorial Chapel in Manhattan's East Village on Tuesday, three days after Madoff's suicide. Madoff, the 46-year-old son of convicted Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff, was found dead in his apartment Saturday morning, two years to the day after Bernie's arrest.

Among the expressions of support for Mark Madoff was a memorial Facebook page titled "Rest in Peace Mark Madoff.". On it, high school friend David Nadler called Mark Madoff "one of the best people I ever knew."

In a separate post, Ed Langone wrote that the "very sad news" of Mark's death made him "think back to the days of the Heights School, East Hills, when everybody was just little kids, and the real world hadn't set in yet." Both are grade schools in Roslyn, New York, where Mark grew up. "A terrible tragedy all around, I feel sorry for his kids," wrote Langone.

Another poster, who identified herself as a former Madoff employee in London, wrote "SLEEP TIGHT MARK XXXXX."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Mark Madoff's Body Claimed By Manhattan Funeral Director

Photo Courtesy - AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The body of Mark Madoff has been claimed by the funeral director of the Gramercy Park Memorial Chapel in Manhattan's East Village. No family members were at the medical examiner's office in Manhattan when the body was claimed Tuesday, three days after Madoff's suicide. No funeral date has been set.

Madoff, the 46-year-old son of convicted Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff, was found hanged Saturday morning while his two-year-old son slept in a nearby room. The suicide was timed to the two-year anniversary of his father's arrest.

Bernie Madoff will not attend his son's funeral and will instead hold a private service from behind bars, his lawyer announced Monday. The confirmation that Madoff would be absent from his son's burial came after debate over whether the Bureau of Prisons would allow him a furlough to begin with.

Madoff is currently serving a 150-year sentence at the Butner Federal Correctional Complex in North Carolina.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


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


Deadline Looms for Madoff Victims to Recover Money

Photo Courtesy - Mario Tama/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The lawyer charged with recovering money for victims of Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme filed suit Wednesday against Madoff's brother and sons and the London branch of Madoff's investment firm.

The suit is one of a flurry worth more than $21 billion that Irving Picard has filed in recent weeks as the deadline for recovering Madoff money looms. More claims could be coming.

Saturday marks both the two-year anniversary of Madoff's arrest and also the last day the bankruptcy trustee can file claims against companies and individuals believed to have benefited from Madoff's fraud.

In recent weeks, Picard has filed suits against hundreds of individual investors and big companies like JP Morgan, HSBC and UBS, which bring the total amount sought by Picard in the so-called "clawback" to at least $36.9 billion.

Wednesday's suit against Madoff Securities International Ltd. asks for $80 million, names Peter, Andrew and Mark Madoff, Bernie's brother and sons, as respondents, and claims that officers of MSIL used fraudulently obtained funds to pay for a yacht, the Madoff home in the South of France and an Aston Martin car.

Through the end of September, Picard had filed 19 lawsuits worth $15.5 billion against members of Madoff's immediate family, longtime individual investors like Jeffry Picower, and major feeder funds, including those operated by the Fairfield Greenwich Group and J. Ezra Merkin, a prominent Wall Street investment manager.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Two of Bernie Madoff's Aides Arrested, in FBI Custody

Photo Courtesy - Mario Tama/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Two longtime aides to Bernard Madoff were arrested by federal prosecutors Thursday morning as part of an ongoing investigation.

Joanne Crupi was arrested at her home in Westfield, New Jersey, while Annette Bongiorno was arrested at her home in Florida.  Crupi and Bongiorno are being held in FBI custody in New York and Florida, respectively.  They are charged in a federal indictment that's expected to be unsealed in New York on Thursday.

Bongiorno, 61, worked for Madoff for more than 40 years as a secretary and back office staff supervisor.  Federal prosecutors have already moved to seize her $1.2 million mansion in Boca Raton.

Crupi was also a longtime Madoff employee.  Federal prosecutors have already seized her $2.25 million house in Mantoloking, on the Jersey shore.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Bernie Madoff's Personal Belongings Up for Auction This Weekend

Photo Courtesy - Department of Justice/United States Marshal(NEW YORK) -- From a $300,000 diamond engagement ring to a Steinway grand piano to a pair of light blue boxer shorts, everything remaining in Bernie Madoff's former Manhattan and Long Island residences is up for auction this Saturday.

Proceeds from the auction, which begins at 10 a.m. at Manhattan's Sheraton Hotel and Towers, will go to the victims of Madoff's monumental Ponzi scheme, according to the U.S. Marshals Service, which has been handling the sale of the spoils of Madoff's criminal enterprise.

"These pieces are the last of what once occupied the homes and lives of Bernard and Ruth's residences in New York City and Montauk, New York," said Joseph R. Guccione, U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of New York.

The auction includes the desk that authorities believe Madoff used to run his multi-billion dollar scam.  The nine-drawer desk, made of yew wood, was located in the Manhattan penthouse apartment where authorities say Madoff most likely ran his scheme, safely away from prying eyes in his nearby office.

Madoff's ill-gotten gains were spent on an opulent lifestyle.  Madoff collected Rolex and Patek Philippe watches and had an Imelda Marcos-like obsession with shoes. "He just bought every kind of shoe in that style that the company made.  And most of them are brand new -- never used," said one auctioneer."  He also collected bulls, large and small sculptures in leather and wood.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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