Bernard “Bernie” Lawrence Madoff was born on April 29, 1938 in Queens New York to Jewish parents Ralph and Sylvia Madoff. His grandparents on both sides had immigrated to the United States from Romania, Poland, and Austria. There were three children in the Madoff family with Bernie being the middle child in between Sister Sondra and Brother Peter. Ralph Madoff raised his family by working as a part-time plumber, part- time stock market trader and it is perhaps because of him that Bernie Madoff found his own love of Wall Street.
In 1956 the young Madoff graduated from Far Rockaway High and began attending the University of Alabama. He didn’t stay long at the University and transferred after a year to Hofstra University instead. In 1960 Bernie Madoff graduated the University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science. He entered Brooklyn Law School with the intention of becoming a lawyer but that soon changed when he opened the Wall Street firm Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC where he remained for the next forty some odd years.
Bernie met and fell in love with Ruth Alpern during his high school days and he married his high school sweetheart on November 28, 1959. He and Ruth had gotten reacquainted after high school when they both wound up working on Wall Street, after they married Ruth took a position with Madoff’s firm. On March 11, 1964 their first child, a son, was born and they named him Mark. Two years later on April 8, 1966 they welcomed a second son Andrew into the family. Sadly after the senior Madoff’s legal troubles began, and exactly two years after Madoff’s first arrest son Mark was found dead in his apartment and it was ruled to be a suicide.
Madoff’s financial and legal troubles seem to have begun with the FBI complaint in December of 2008 though many others believe he had been miss-running his business since as early as the 1970’s. In a book titled “No One Would Listen” written by Harry Markopolos he theorizes how Madoff’s numbers had never added up right and that it was physically impossible for his monetary gains to have been achieved and in 2008 someone apparently finally listened.
On March 12, 2009 Bernard “Bernie” Madoff plead guilty to eleven felony federal counts including perjury, money laundering, securities fraud, wire fraud, making false statements to law enforcement, and several other charges. He refused to enter into any plea deals with law enforcement and on June 29, 2009 Madoff was given the maximum sentence of 150 years in a federal penitentiary. His wife Ruth has stated she knew nothing of Madoff’s misdealings and was just as surprised and felt just as betrayed as those Madoff scammed. Apparently it was also too much for Madoff’s first born Mark who might have been feeling particularly betrayed and embarrassed by his father, enough so to take his own life. This was just one of the many saddening results caused by one man’s unapologetic greed of money.