Bernie Madoff Speaks Out in Email From Prison: My Deceased Sons “Never Forgave Me for Betraying Their Love and Trust”

Bernie Madoff
Bernie Madoff sent an email to NBC News on Friday, Jan. 23, from prison, where he is currently serving a max sentence for his infamous Ponzi scheme: "My sons never forgave me for betraying their love and trust," he wrote. TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

Tragic. An incarcerated Bernie Madoff sent an email to NBC News on Friday, Jan. 23, writing that the pain of losing both his sons is worse than any other punishment he could suffer for the damages he inflicted upon thousands of investors in his notorious Ponzi scheme.

The former stockbroker and financial adviser, 76, is currently serving his ordered 150-year sentence in federal prison (the maximum time allowed in the system). Meanwhile, he is still facing lawsuits from the many victims he swindled. Find out about the latest criminal trial resulting from Madoff's fraud.

Madoff's eldest son Mark committed suicide at age 46 back in 2010, hanging himself in his Manhattan home on the second anniversary of his dad's arrest. Madoff's younger child Andrew died last September at the age of 48 after losing his battle to lymphoma.

In his email on Friday, Madoff wrote: "As difficult as it is for me to live with the pain I have inflicted on so many, there is nothing to compare with the degree of pain I endure with the loss of my son's Mark and Andy. I live with the knowledge that they never forgave me for betraying their love and trust. As much as I tried to reach out to them in an attempt to explain the circumstances that caused my betrayal they could not find it possible to forgive me. I do understand their unwillingness. The fact that I was trying to protect our family by sheltering them from any knowledge or involvement in my wrongdoing still fails to allow me to forgive myself."

Madoff outlined to the network that he was sending this email with the goal to do "everything in my power to protect their legacy." The fallen financier, while behind bars, is dealing with lawsuits from a trustee that represents his fraud victims.

"Although neither of my sons were ever charged with anything," Madoff noted in his email, "they were subjected to the completely false and slanderous claims and remarks of the Trustee and the media. It is because of this that I ask you to understand why I will never cease working to correct this situation by discrediting the baseless and vindictive comments of the above parties."

He went on to outline other key points, proclaiming his sons' innocence in their involvement in his personal transgressions.

"In conclusion I would remind everyone that the Trustee's civil litigation against my son's as directors of Madoff Securities International in London was not only DISMISSED, the judge lambasted the trustee for his baseless claims and unnecessary harassment of my son's," Madoff wrote. "I do realize that much of this has been told to you in the past. Certainly all of the facts I have presented can be easily verified by examining the same documents that were available to the Trustee. I appreciate your understanding of it's importance to me and my family."

Bernie's wife Ruth Madoff, meanwhile, was forced to give up over $80 million in her family's assets after her husband's scheme was revealed in 2008. She ultimately reconciled with her son Andrew before his death, after she cut off ties with her husband.

In a 2011 interview with 60 Minutes, Ruth said she never had a suspicion about her husband's criminal activities. "I mean I trusted him," she said. "Why would it ever occur to me that it wasn’t legal? The business was—his reputation was almost legendary. Why would I ever think that there was something sinister going on?"

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