Bernie Madoff says he can’t sleep, haunted in prison by the suicide of his oldest son, Mark, and the destruction he caused to the rest of his family.
Mark hanged himself on the second anniversary of his father’s arrest for running a billion-dollar Ponzi scheme.
“I was responsible for my son Mark’s death and that’s very, very difficult,” Madoff said from a federal prison in North Carolina. “I live with that. I live with the remorse, the pain I caused everybody, certainly my family, and the victims.”
Once one of New York’s most powerful investment brokers, Madoff is now working as clerk in the commissary of his federal prison. The work is only for a few hour a day, which Madoff said leaves him time to stew over his mistakes.
“I’m usually up at 4:30 in the morning because I can t sleep,” said Madoff.
As his $17.5 billion swindle came to light in 2008, Madoff saw his entire fortune disappear. He gave up his $7 million penthouse in Manhattan, his Long Island beach house, and homes in Florida and France.
Though Madoff tried to keep the effects of his crimes from reaching his family, it did not work. Aside from his son’s suicide, Madoff also say his younger brother, Peter, sent to jail for a 10-year sentence for trying to cover up the scheme.
While Bernie Madoff may claim he can’t sleep over his guilt, he still has shown some anger over how his case played out. In a series of emails to CNBC, Madoff said that his is frustrated over not getting credit for helping to return money to his victims. Madoff added that if he knew it would play out that way, he might have never pleaded guilty in the first place.
Despite Bernie Madoff admitting that he can’t sleep because he is so filled with guilt, some of his victims question whether he is really remorseful at all. Mike De Vita, author of The Club that No One Wanted to Join, says a man who would bring his son into a criminal enterprise isn’t truly sorry, and this his remorse is just “words, and words alone.”