Written by Bruce Golding and Originally Published in the New York Post on May 17, 2013
The Ponzi monster is now tormented by his own demons.
In an interview from prison, Bernie Madoff said he’ll be forever haunted by the suicide of his oldest son, and he can’t sleep at night because he blames himself for the 2010 tragedy.
“I was responsible for my son Mark’s death, and that’s very, very difficult,” he told CNNMoney in a telephone interview published online yesterday.
“I live with that. I live with the remorse, the pain I caused everybody, certainly my family, and the victims.”
Mark Madoff, 46, hanged himself with a dog leash inside his Soho apartment on the second anniversary of his disgraced dad’s arrest.
His widow, Stephanie Madoff Mack, revealed in her 2011 memoir that Mark had tried to kill himself with sleeping pills the year before, writing a note to his father that said, “Now you know how you have destroyed the lives of your sons by your life of deceit. F–k you.”
During the interview — which the ex-billionaire gave by calling collect because he didn’t have enough in his prison phone account — Madoff, 75, also said he embarked on his record $65 billion fraud after the Black Monday stock-market crash in 1987.
Rather than admit his investment firm had taken a beating, the once-revered money manager and Nasdaq chairman embarked on a massive con that used his clients’ savings to perpetrate a pyramid scheme that left many of them penniless.
“It was certainly never my intention for this to happen,” Madoff told CNN.
“I thought I could work myself out of a temporary situation, but it kept getting worse and worse and I didn’t have the courage to admit what I had done. It created a major problem.”
Madoff — who is serving a 150-year sentence at a medium-security prison in Butner, NC — said the guilt and shame leave him tossing and turning in his bunk.
“I’m usually up at 4:30 in the morning because I can’t sleep,” he said.
During the day, Madoff said he performs menial tasks for a paltry $40 a month. “I used to work as a clerk in the commissary, and now they have me taking care of the telephone and the computer systems,” he said.
The rest of the time, he wallows in self-pity over the loss of his former life.
“Obviously, the main concern that I have is being away from my family,” he said. “Married for 50 years, I had a very close family.”