Madoff wife, son won't forgive

2011-10-31 09:00

Washington - The wife and son of disgraced Wall Street financier Bernard Madoff on Sunday said they would never forgive him for committing a massive fraud which led a second son to commit suicide.

Ruth and Andrew Madoff told CBS's 60 Minutes programme that Mark Madoff slowly fell apart before hanging himself in shame exactly two years after his conman father was arrested for running a giant Ponzi scheme.

"I just wish, until my dying day, that I had done what he wanted," Ruth Madoff said, referring to her dead son's demands that she cut herself adrift from the fraudster, and admitting personal blame for the suicide.

"I don't know if it would have made a difference or not, but if I could change things, at least if I had tried, I would have felt a little better," she said.

"It's the most awful thing that could happen to anybody. Suicide of a child," she added.

For decades, Madoff ran a fake trading firm where he stole from fresh deposits to create fake profits for existing clients, providing high and steady returns that seemingly made him one of the industry's top performers.

Fooled many

He once claimed to have grown investors' money to around $60bn, but the Ponzi scheme collapsed in December 2008 and after pleading guilty the following year, he was given a prison sentence of 150 years.

The charismatic mogul, once chairperson of the Nasdaq stock exchange, fooled charities, major banks, Hollywood moguls and savvy financial players, who ultimately lost tens of millions.

Madoff's wife admitted in a previously released excerpt from the programme that after the allegations surfaced the couple tried but failed to commit suicide by taking pills.

In Sunday's broadcast she said her later decision to cut off all contact with the fraudster led to reconciliation with the couple's other son Andrew, who also spoke of Mark Madoff's suicide.

"It was awful. I wish I could say I was shocked, but I wasn't," Andrew Madoff said, noting that his brother had become obsessed with media coverage of the case.

"He had tried to kill himself - a little more than a year before. And that was absolutely devastating," he said, noting he would never reconcile with his convict father.

"What he did to me, to my brother, and to my family is unforgivable," he said. "What he did to thousands of other people... I'll never understand it. And I'll never forgive him for it. And I'll never speak to him again."

In a prison interview with Fox Business Network published in August, Madoff said he had been "trapped into the greed of others."

He also claimed that many of his former colleagues in the financial industry are crooks and that insider trading "goes on at every major firm's Prop Desk and at every level of the industry in plain sight."

"It is unfortunate, to say the least, that the financial services industry is so corrupt and stacked against the typical investor," he told Fox in an email.

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