For all the people who were robbed and devastated by Bernie Madoff and his Ponzi scheme, it appears his son may have been hurt the most. Mark Madoff was found dead this morning of suicide.
According to the New York Post, the 46-year-old was found hanging in his New York apartment at 7:30 a.m. Even more tragic -- his 2-year-old child was in the apartment with him.
His wife, Stephanie, and 4-year-old child were in Florida, and apparently some e-mails Mark sent to her were alarming, so she called her father, who found him.
Given the fact that it was two years ago today that Madoff was arrested, it seems like a very deliberate statement. Mark's attorney has confirmed it was indeed suicide.
If you recall, Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 federal charges and bilked investors out of as much as $65 billion. He's currently serving his 150-year prison sentence, but this news will likely be his greatest punishment.
His words to victims after his sentencing are haunting given today's tragedy.
"I have left a legacy of shame, as some of my victims have pointed out, to my family and my grandchildren. This is something I will live in for the rest of my life. I'm sorry."
That "legacy of shame" may have been too much for Mark to handle. While Mark and his brother were brokers in their fathers firm they have staunchly denied any knowledge of the illegal activities. According the Wall Street Journal, Mark was "unalterably bitter" about them. He also reportedly had been having a difficult time finding another job.
“This is a terrible and unnecessary tragedy," his attorney said in a statement. "Mark was an innocent victim of his father’s monstrous crime who succumbed to two years of unrelenting pressure from false accusations and innuendo. We are all deeply saddened by this shocking turn of events."
It's difficult to imagine how one would feel after your father becomes one of the most hated men in the country and to have your own involvement questioned, but the real tragedy in of all this are the children.
Mark had the opportunity to change the legacy for his children and provide a strong and resilient example for them, but instead now they're left not only without a father, but also with so many more questions and so much more heartbreak.
Condolences to his wife and children as they try to heal and move forward and beyond this terrible tragedy.