Capturing the Madoffs: How Bernie Told His Children
Bernie Madoff had been acting strangely for months and by December 2008, he had taken to spending hours in his office just ‘staring at the ceiling.’ But when his sons Mark and Andrew noticed something unusual in Madoff’s legder—a disbursal of over $140 million in bonuses arriving two months ahead of schedule—they decided to confront their father. Madoff led his sons back to his apartment and confessed, but despite that the men were obviously shaken, Madoff proceeded to ask his children for a week-long grace period of silence to allow him to hatch a plan. Whether Mark and Andrew refused because they were stung or because they were afraid of being cast as co-conspirators is lost inside Madoff’s Upper East Side penthouse—but what is known that Bernie Madoff was arrested the following morning, after a tip from Andrew.
Bernie’s Life as a Jailhouse ‘Mafia Don’
It seems Madoff didn’t have that tough a transition from the high life to ‘life without parole.’ After his daughter-in-law Stephanie Madoff Mack sent him a letter taunting him with all the things he was missing—family vacations, his grandchildren quickly growing older—Madoff sent her a letter back. But it didn’t seem to quite understand her intention. He described at length his new lifestyle as a celebrity inmate, casting himself as the Michael Corleone of the minimum security prison. ‘Uncle Bernie,’ as his fellow prisoners called him, had amassed a vast support network while incarcerated, and was constantly surrounded by people ‘concerned’ for his ‘well-being’ and dedicated to trying to ‘keep his spirits up.’ If only the same could be said for the rest of the Madoff clan, who battled against public scrutiny in the streets of New York City.
Stephanie Takes a Swing at a Paparazzo
Just because she’s a millionaire doesn’t mean she won’t fight dirty. After months of remaining in the media’s harsh spotlight, Madoff Mack finally cracked. While on a walk with her husband and child, a paparazzo accosted the family with questions about her father-in-law—and the unsuspecting paparazzo received an answer that packed quite a punch. Madoff Mack lashed out, throwing the reporter against a wall and breaking her camera. The paparazzo ruffled and out a functioning camera, then threatened Madoff Mack with a lawsuit. Madoff Mack’s response? ‘Get in line.’
Were Bernie’s Secrets All in the Family?
How far can the apple really fall from the tree—especially when the only thing separating them is two floors of office space? Following Madoff’s arrest, a huge amount of media attention was turned to his sons, Mark and Andy, as possible players in their father’s fraud. Though never charged with any association to the Ponzi scheme, Mark became an intense target of media speculation. Madoff Mack maintains her late husband ‘knew nothing’ of his father’s extraordinary con and he too was a victim of his father’s ‘betrayal,’ not a co-conspirator.
Mark Madoff’s Last Words to His Father: ‘F**k You’
There may be a thousand ways to say ‘I love you,’ but there’s only one iteration of ‘I hate you’ that always gets the job done. A little over a year after his father’s arrest, Mark made his first attempt at suicide, checking into the Soho Grand Hotel near his apartment and overdosing on a combination of anti-anxiety and sleeping pills. Though the attempt was unsuccessful, his note still survives. Despite cutting ties with his mother because of her continued relationship with Bernie, Mark’s note was not addressed family he still held close; rather, it was directed towards the man who he had deliberately removed from his life. Watch Madoff Mack share some of Mark’s pretty choice words for his father.
Moments Before Suicide, Mark Madoff’s Final Emails
On the second anniversary of his father’s arrest, Mark Madoff took his own life while his two-year-old son slept in an adjoining room. Unlike the last attempt, Mark left no note; he simply emailed Madoff Mack, who was vacationing in Disneyworld with their four-year-old daughter at the time, with the subject line ‘Help.’ Watch this wrenching video of Madoff Mack reading the last known words of her late husband.
Stephanie Madoff Mack: ‘I Hate Bernie Madoff’
When all is said and done, is there any chance Madoff Mack will come to sympathize with her father-in-law? Given her remarks in this clip, forgiveness probably isn’t coming anytime soon. Not only does Madoff Mack hold her father-in-law fully responsible for his fraudulent behavior, his minefield of lies, and the loss of billions of others’ money (her own stepfather included)—but also for the death of her husband. If she ever comes face to face with him again, what would the widow do? Simple: ‘spit in his face.