The eldest son of Bernard Madoff was found dead in an apparent suicide Saturday, on the second anniversary of Madoff’s arrest in what is thought to be the largest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history.
Mark Madoff’s father-in-law found his body in his New York apartment about 7:30 a.m. Saturday, said Paul Browne, deputy police commissioner.
Browne said Madoff, 46, had hanged himself using a black dog leash in the living room of his apartment in Manhattan’s upscale SoHo neighborhood.
His 2-year-old son and dog were found in the apartment, unharmed. The father-in-law went to the apartment after Madoff’s wife, who was out of town, received ominous messages from her husband, Browne said.
Mark Madoff ran the trading desk at Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities with his younger brother, Andrew Madoff. The fraud was run out of another division at the firm, the asset management business.
Earlier this week, Irving Picard, the trustee who is collecting money for victims of Madoff, filed lawsuits against the brothers and other family members, including Mark Madoff’s children, his wife and his ex-wife.
Mark and Andrew Madoff have denied they knew about the fraud.
“Mark was an innocent victim of his father’s monstrous crime who succumbed to two years of unrelenting pressure from false accusations and innuendo,” his lawyer, Martin Flumenbaum, said in a statement.
The Madoff brothers reportedly went to the authorities after their father confessed his crime to them on Dec. 10, 2008. A day later, Bernard Madoff was arrested at his Manhattan apartment.
No charges have been brought against the brothers or any other members of the Madoff family, but prosecutors have said they are continuing to investigate.
Seven associates of Bernard Madoff have been charged with crimes since the fraud was discovered. The latest arrest was made last month and has led to speculation that authorities may be narrowing in on family members.
The brothers, their uncle and their cousin, all of whom had leadership roles at the company, were sued by Picard in fall 2009 for almost $200 million.
Mark Madoff was accused in that lawsuit of using proceeds from the fraud to buy luxury real estate in Nantucket, Mass., Connecticut and New York.
The suit said Madoff was paid $29 million from 2001 to 2008.
Madoff graduated from the University of Michigan and joined his father’s firm in 1986.
The last week has brought a flurry of activity in the case. In addition to the lawsuits naming the brothers, Picard filed a lawsuit on Friday against banks and financial executives accused of encouraging Bernard Madoff’s fraud or not taking adequate steps to uncover it.
Bernard Madoff is in federal prison in North Carolina, serving a 150-year sentence.
Times staff writer Tina Susman contributed to this report.