By Tara Wright
Bernard Madoff and his wife attempted suicide after Madoff’s multibillion dollar Ponzi scheme went public.
It was started with a criminal complaint on December 11, 2008. Bernard Madoff was arrested for an alleged charge of securities fraud. At this time, a civil action brought against Madoff by the SEC filed a motion to freeze certain corporate assets and to appoint a trustee. On December 15, the new trustee, Irving H. Picard, was appointed as a result of the Securities Investor Protection Act of 1970.
Prior to his release, several conditions for bail were made, including: $10 million recognizance bond co-signed by four people including Madoff’s wife, surrender of his passport, and specific travel restrictions. However on December 19, due to his inability to find 4 co-signers, the conditions were modified requiring only two co-signers and included 24-hour home detention with electronic monitoring in his Manhattan apartment and hiring a security firm to provide constant monitoring to prevent harm or flight at the wife’s expense.
After he was released, Madoff began sending packages which included jewelry and other valuable items to his family and friends. The value of these items could have easily exceeded $1 million. This transfer of valuables was a direct violation of the order which restricted Madoff from dissipating any money or personal property. An order requesting Madoff’s detention was made as a result of these packages on January 5, 2009.
“The absence of such support is telling.”
-Judge Chin, on the lack of mitigating letters for Madoff
On March 10, 2009, a criminal complaint charged Bernard Madoff with eleven felony charges: securities fraud, investment adviser fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, false statements, perjury, false filings with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), and theft from an employee benefit plan. Two days later, Madoff plead guilty to all charges without a plea agreement. On June 29, 2009, despite Madoff’s lawyers pleas for a reduced sentence out of consideration for Madoff’s age, Judge Chin sentenced Madoff with 150 years of imprisonment. According to Chin, he received no mitigating letters from Madoff’s friends or family. Chin remarks, “The absence of such support is telling.”
Madoff’s multibillion dollar Ponzi scheme is one of the largest frauds in history. However, his investors weren’t the only victims. On the two-year anniversary of his father’s arrest, Mark Madoff, Bernie’s oldest son, committed suicide. Also in recent interviews, Madoff’s wife even admitted to attempting suicide with her husband on Christmas Eve in 2008 after his Ponzi scheme went public. The couple took a bunch of pills that night, but they didn’t work. The two woke up just fine the next morning and his wife states she’s glad they did.
Madoff and his wife survived their suicide attempt, but how many more victims will this Ponzi scheme take?
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