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At the height of the financial crisis in 2008, the world watched as many of Wall Street's top institutions, investment firms, and financiers were exposed for anything from predatory lending to ill-fated risk taking and fraud. Among those who fell from grace during this time was Bernard "Bernie" Madoff, who — at the time — was the chairman of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities and revered in the stock and investment world. Netflix's latest docuseries, "Madoff: The Monster of Wall Street," takes a deep dive into the life and crimes of Madoff, who went down in history as the mastermind behind the world's largest Ponzi scheme.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Madoff's company exploded, and he quickly became known on Wall Street. Along with establishing his investment firm, Madoff helped develop electronic trading platforms like NASDAQ. By the 1990s and 2000s, he even had celebrity clientele, including Larry King, Kevin Bacon, and Steven Spielberg. His longtime success, however, was a front. Behind the scenes, Madoff was operating a Ponzi scheme, which would ultimately con both regular and famous people out of a combined $65 million, per The New York Times.
To put money in his own pockets and defraud thousands of people, Madoff would persuade victims to give their money to him to invest in various stocks for them, promising a significant return on their investment. However, Madoff never invested the money, and when someone would ask to withdraw their earnings, he would use the money from a new victim to pay their "return." When the economy took a turn for the worse and the country fell into a recession in 2008, many of Madoff's clients wanted their money back, and when he didn't have it to give, the lid on his longtime scam was lifted.
When his crimes were revealed, Madoff insisted he acted alone, but that didn't stop the press from zeroing in on Madoff's immediate family, including his wife, Ruth, and his sons, Andrew and Mark, who worked alongside him at his firm. Despite being the ones who tipped off authorities about their father, Andrew and Mark faced unrelenting speculation about their involvement in the scheme, which would affect them in the years after Madoff's arrest.
In light of "Madoff: The Monster of Wall Street"'s premiere, here's what happened to Madoff and his family after his money-making scam came crashing down.
What Happened to Bernie Madoff?
After confessing to his sons that his entire business was built on a fraudulent scam (he notably revealed "it's all just one big lie"), Madoff was arrested by two FBI agents in his New York City apartment on Dec. 11, 2008, according to Reuters.
At the time of his arrest, Madoff was charged with just one count of securities fraud, but he would later plead guilty to 11 counts of money laundering, fraud, theft, and perjury in 2009, as reported by CNBC. He was sentenced to 150 years in prison and allegedly earned $710 for the 3,000 hours of work he completed during his 12-year sentence.
On April 14, 2021, Madoff died in jail at the age of 82 from natural causes, though he had been in the end stages of renal disease for at least a year before his death, per the Associated Press.
What Happened to Mark Madoff?
Madoff's oldest son, Mark Madoff, never spoke to his father after his arrest in 2008. Though he was never formally charged or arrested for working with his father, Mark was the centre of an intense press storm that constantly speculated about the degree of his involvement in the scheme. According to The New York Times, he was also the subject of several lawsuits from trustees who sought compensation for Madoff's victims.
In the years after the Ponzi scheme was revealed, Mark reportedly experienced trouble finding a job and suffered mentally from the scandal's fallout, which included broken relationships with childhood friends who'd lost their life savings.
On Dec. 11, 2010, exactly two years after Madoff's arrest, Mark died by suicide in his New York City apartment. He is survived by his widow, Stephanie, and four children.
What Happened to Andrew Madoff?
Like his brother, Mark, Andrew Madoff worked hard to sever ties with his father and openly condemned his actions to the press. Andrew vehemently denied knowing about any fraudulent activity from either his father or other firm employees, though he was also the subject of many lawsuits and media speculation. In a 2011 interview with "60 Minutes: Overtime," Andrew revealed, "I wish none of this was real. You know, I knew absolutely nothing about this before my father shared the information with us. And it was the most shocking and terrible moment of my life."
Andrew's fate, however, would also end tragically. On Sept. 3, 2014, he died from mantle-cell lymphoma, a rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, per The Washington Post. He is survived by his partner, Catherine Hooper, and his two children.
Where Is Bernie Madoff's Wife, Ruth Madoff, Now?
Ruth Madoff was never charged with any crimes relating to her husband. Over the years, she distanced herself from him publicly, though she never formally divorced him. She expressed in a 2011 interview with NBC's "Today" that she did not miss Madoff, saying, "The villain of all this is behind bars."
Following his arrest, she moved to Florida for two years before moving to Old Greenwich, CT, as reported by NBC New York. Despite losing nearly $70 million in assets, Ruth was able to stay afloat and live comfortably.
As of April 2021, Ruth is living in a waterfront mansion in Old Greenwich, which is allegedly worth $3.8 million, per The New York Post.
Watch the trailer for "Madoff: The Monster of Wall Street," and catch the series streaming now on Netflix.