23-Year-Old Son of Bernard Madoff's Accountant Commits Suicide & Leaves Tragic Questions

Heartbreaking 9

police tapeThe fallout from Bernard Madoff's greedy actions has been felt far and wide, and now we hear news of yet another tragedy linked to the man who destroyed the lives of so many. Jeremy Friehling, a 23-year-old medical student and son of Madoff's long-time accountant, David Friehling, has committed suicide.

According to police at Ohio State, where he was a student, he was found Thursday in his apartment, dead from what appears to have been a self-inflicted gunshot wound. According to some reports, he left comments on Facebook that caused concerned friends to ask police to check on him. When they did, they found his body.

Jeremy reportedly left a suicide note, but its contents have not been revealed. The coroner was quick to say there was no indication that his suicide had anything to do with the Madoff scandal, but I don't see how it could not, at least in part.

Sure there may have been more issues and problems in addition to his father facing prison and being linked to one of the world's most hated men, but I think it's almost impossible to believe that those factors didn't at least contribute to this young man choosing to take his own life. Surely he knew that would be the assumption.

David Friehling pleaded guilty to securities fraud in 2009 for his role in Madoff's $65 billion Ponzi scheme. He had worked as Madoff's accountant for almost 20 years, and prosecutors believed he "turned a blind eye to Madoff's cooked books." Though he said he did fail to do an adequate job monitoring the books, he has denied knowing that Madoff was bilking investors out of money. Whether he did or not is, of course, debatable, but to even have your own father suspected of such horrific actions has got to weigh on you.

At the time he was charged, David Friehling told the judge, "In what was the biggest mistake of my life, I put my trust with Bernard Madoff." I can't help but thinking he's feeling that sentiment more strongly than ever in light of this tragic news about his son.

If you recall, it was just a little over a year ago that Madoff's own son, Mark Madoff, committed suicide, hanging himself on the two-year anniversary of his father's arrest. At the time we mourned the "legacy of shame" that Madoff had left his family, and now we see how much broader that heartbreaking legacy may have been.

Do you think his father's role in the Madoff scandal likely contributed to Jeremy Friehling's suicide?


Image via CarbonNYC/Flickr

scandal, death


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pupuk... pupukeawahine

One man's greed created a mudslide of tragedy.  Madoff is inarcerated, but it just doesn't seem like it's enough.

Pinkmani Pinkmani

Maybe it's from the stress of being in med school... Maybe he was doing poorly or felt bad about wanting to change his profession.

nonmember avatar blm

this story is now FOUR days old since..why reported it four days after everyone else has?

bills... billsfan1104

What is with the Cafemom bloggers lately and their suicide articles? You guys act like you know what goes on in peoples heads. You are not psychiatrists, stop acting like one.

nonmember avatar Eryn

Really you guys?? I'll bet you this kid never even MET Bernie...why are you trying to make drama (worse) where there is no need?? It seems like all the articles here are just pompous fluff-stuff that make grand promises of great stories and then just dump you off with nothing...

kisse... kisses5050

 reports are saying it was unrelated to madoff... i swear.. you "bloggers" are worse than middle school girls... gossip first think about facts ....latter..never...

Adama... Adamato68

I think it may be time to stop bothering to look at cafemom. Seriously. All of the articles are full of assumptions based on what the writer 'thinks' may have happened. Please, get some real journalists.

nonmember avatar greg

What if these men's sons are actually being murdered and made to look like suicide.....as a form of revenge. Think about it - there must be some very powerful people angry enough and capable of exacting such a revenge on these men......thru their sons.

I don't know.....but it sounds plausible to me.


nonmember avatar kimball

I agree with greg about the possibility of there being some revenge plot here. The facebook comments and note may have been fabricated to create the appearance of suicide. Suicide is obviously is a desperate act. So if it was suicide, I would guess that the shame of his family had to factor into this young man's lack of self esteem. Suicide is an act of horrific self hatred and despair.

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