“The world’s biggest money swindler is still destroying lives,” said Simon Edge in the London Express. Bernie Madoff’s elder son, Mark Madoff, committed suicide last week in his Manhattan apartment on the second anniversary of his father’s arrest. Madoff, 46, had turned his father in to authorities and no longer spoke to him, but he was hounded by lawsuits and a criminal investigation into the fortune he made in his father’s employ. He’d concluded he would never find a job again. With his 2-year-old son sleeping just 10 feet away, he hanged himself from a pipe with a dog leash—thus joining the ranks of his father’s “4,000 or so victims,” who collectively lost tens of billions in Madoff’s global Ponzi scheme. Still, Madoff’s victims say they find no solace in this latest tragedy, said Annie Karni in the New York Post. “I don’t feel vindicated at all by someone’s death,” said Burt Ross, who lost $5 million in the fraud. “It starts to have the elements of a Greek tragedy.”
But how responsible was Mark? said Allan Dodds Frank in TheDailyBeast.com. Mark and his brother, Andrew, claimed their dad had duped them, too, until the scheme began to collapse and Madoff revealed his fraud to them. Prosecutors, however, “remain far from convinced” that either son is innocent. Mark’s share of his father’s ill-gotten gains included his SoHo apartment, a mansion in Greenwich, Conn., a summer home on Nantucket, and vast personal wealth. Bankruptcy trustee Irving Picard, who is seeking to recover billions from banks and fund managers who profited from the scheme, believes each Madoff son received about $67 million in total—all “stolen from investors.” Mark’s death doesn’t alter victims’ claims on that money; Picard will simply pursue it from Mark’s estate.
And so the tragedy continues to unfold, said Jay Bookman in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Online. “To escape the stigma” of the Madoff name, Mark’s wife changed her name, and that of their two children, to Morgan. Yet even her husband’s suicide will not insulate her family from the consequences of Bernie Madoff’s monstrous swindle. “You have a sense that this scandal will keep playing itself out over generations, like something in a Henry James novel.” Bernie Madoff’s eldest son is dead, his grandchildren are fatherless—and as he lives out his days in prison, another huge weight has been added to his “already heavily burdened soul.”
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