Emails reveal last moments before Madoff son's suicide

Bernard Madoff's elder son, who took his own life in his New York apartment at the weekend, had been driven to despair by the stain of his father's financial swindles and by the battering of lawsuits against him, the latest of which was filed in London last Thursday, friends and associates said yesterday.

The body of Mark Madoff, 46, was founding hanging from a dog lead attached to a pipe in his SoHo apartment early on Saturday while his 2-year-old son, Nicholas, was sleeping in an adjoining room. While an autopsy is due this morning, the death was being treated as a suicide.

Police were still studying computer records and in particular emails to his wife, Stephanie Morgan, who was at Disney World in Florida yesterday. Written in the hours before his death, they made clear to her that their family "would be better off without 'this' hanging over them all, forever," a source told the Daily News. "He all but said he was going to kill himself."

Ms Morgan – who changed her family name earlier this year, with no objection from her husband, to try to escape the Madoff shame – became alarmed by the dismal emails and asked her father in New York to go around to the apartment. He found the body at 7.30 am on Saturday.

Her husband seems to have timed his suicide carefully to coincide with the very day of the arrest of his father two years ago. It came the day after he and his younger brother, Andrew, had confronted their father about concerns they had about his Manhattan investment firm, where they were both working. After their father told them of the Ponzi scheme he had constructed, Mark went directly to the police.

"I love you," he wrote in one of the missives to his wife just moments before his death. He added: "Send someone to take care of Nick".

Mark had seemingly not spoken to his father since Bernard Madoff's arrest on 11 December 2008 or to his mother, who he considered an "enabler" of the fraud. Valued at $65bn, the Ponzi scheme was the biggest in history and brought ruin to thousands of investors around the world.

Neither Mark nor Andrew faced criminal charges stemming from the scandal. But civil lawsuits had been coming in droves, filed in part by victims of the scheme trying to recoup their money or, more significantly, from Irving Picard, the trustee charged with liquidating the assets of Madoff's investment firm and its subsidiaries.

Mr Picard had until Saturday to file the suits on behalf of victims of the swindle. On Thursday in London, he filed a suit against a former UK Madoff subsidiary. Because Mark Madoff was on its board, he was named in it as one of the defendants. Most galling to Mark Madoff, it seems, however, was another of Mr Picard's suits which named his children, including Nicholas, the 2-year-old.

"I have a hard time believing this," said Eleanor Squillari, a former personal secretary to Bernard Madoff. "Mark was so sweet. He was a wonderful person and I cared about him very much. This doesn't seem like the Mark we knew."

While there were reports that the father, now serving a 150-year prison sentence in North Carolina, had been informed of his son's death on Saturday, there was no information on whether he would be allowed out to attend his funeral. Nor, for that matter, was there any certainty that he would be welcome at the burial anyway.

News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Sport
Jonathan de Guzman of the Netherlands and Willian of Brazil compete for the ball
world cup 2014LIVE BLOG: Hosts Brazil take on the Netherlands in third-place play-off
News
Tommy Ramone performing at The Old Waldorf Nightclub in 1978 in San Francisco, California.
peopleDrummer Tommy was last surviving member of seminal band
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Several male celebrities have confessed to being on a diet, including, from left to right, Hugh Grant, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ryan Reynolds
life...and the weight loss industry is rubbing its hands in glee
Voices
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
Arts and Entertainment
'Eminem's recovery from substance abuse has made him a more potent performer, with physical charisma and energy he never had before'
arts + entsReview: Wembley Stadium ***
Sport
Joe Root and James Anderson celebrate their record-beaking partnership
cricketEngland's last-wicket stand against India rewrites the history books
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Integration Developer (.NET, Tibco EMS, SQL 2008/2012, XML)

£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice