NEW YORK– Imprisoned financier Bernard Madoff won’t seek to attend his son’s funeral out of consideration for the privacy of his son’s wife and four children, his lawyer said Monday.
Attorney Ira Sorkin said Madoff instead will mourn privately at the North Carolina prison where he’s serving a 150-year sentence for his fraud conviction in what authorities have called history’s largest Ponzi scheme.
Madoff’s older son, Mark Madoff, 46, hanged himself early Saturday in his Manhattan apartment two years after his father was arrested on charges that he cheated thousands of people out of tens of billions of dollars.
Sorkin declined to say whether Madoff considered asking to attend his son’s funeral. The lawyer would say only: “Mr. Madoff will not be attending the funeral out of consideration for his daughter-in-law’s and grandchildren’s privacy. He will be conducting a private service on his own where he is presently incarcerated.”
Sorkin commented a day after the city medical examiner’s office formally ruled Mark Madoff’s death a suicide. Madoff was found hanging from a dog leash in his apartment. His 2-year-old son was found asleep in an adjacent room.
Madoff’s body hadn’t been picked up from the medical examiner’s office for burial as of Monday, office spokeswoman Ellen Borakove said.
The death came while the Madoff family faced increased scrutiny in the days before the two-year anniversary of Bernard Madoff’s arrest as a court-appointed trustee trying to recover money for investors filed dozens of lawsuits to meet a filing deadline.
The actions of Mark Madoff, along with those of his brother, Andrew Madoff, and his uncle Peter Madoff, have been studied by investigators trying to learn how Bernard Madoff was able to carry out such a large fraud without a wider circle of people knowing about it. Madoff’s brother and sons all held management positions at the family investment business.
In November 2008, Madoff informed investors that their initial investment of roughly $20 billion had more than tripled in value. Just days later, Madoff confessed to his sons that the investment business was a sham and that he had only several hundred million dollars of investors’ money left.
In court papers, a lawyer for the sons has portrayed his clients as whistle-blowers who alerted authorities as soon as their father revealed the fraud to them. Neither son, nor Madoff’s brother, was charged criminally, and authorities have said no charges are imminent.
Mark Madoff was remembered fondly by former classmates Monday. Lev Seltzer, reached by telephone in Israel, where he now lives, recalled working with Madoff on a sixth-grade assignment at a Long Island school to create a fake television commercial. He said the ad mocked a long-running Life cereal commercial that featured a boy named Mikey who hated everything else but liked the cereal.
“Instead of Mikey, we had Marky,” Seltzer said.
Doreen Hebron said Madoff was “very popular,” dressed well and had a good attitude.