Madoff’s wife says ‘we tried suicide’

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The wife of disgraced financier Bernard Madoff says the couple tried to kill themselves after he admitted stealing billions of dollars in the largest Ponzi scheme in history.

Ruth Madoff will appear on CBS’ 60 Minutes programme on Sunday – her first interview since her husband’s arrest for fraud in December 2008.

She says the time after Madoff’s arrest was “horrendous” and remembers receiving angry phone calls and hate mail.

Mrs Madoff says they took “a bunch of pills” on Christmas Eve, but both woke up the next day. She says the decision was “very impulsive” and she was glad they did not die.

The couple’s son Andrew will also talk about his experience. Another son, Mark, killed himself last year.

Bernard Madoff, 72, is serving 150 years in prison.

“I don’t know whose idea it was, but we decided to kill ourselves because it was so horrendous what was happening,” Mrs Madoff said in the interview, according to excerpts released by CBS.

She said it was Christmas Eve, which added to their depression, and she decided “I just can’t go on any more”.

Mark Madoff hanged himself by a dog leash last year on the anniversary of his father’s arrest. He had swallowed pills in a failed suicide attempt 14 months earlier, according to his widow’s new book, The End of Normal: A Wife’s Anguish, A Widow’s New Life.

Bernard Madoff was arrested on December 11, 2008, the morning after his sons notified authorities through a lawyer that he had confessed to them that his investment business was a multi-billion-dollar Ponzi scheme – a type of pyramid scheme named after Charles Ponzi, who ran one in the 1920s.

Madoff admitted cheating thousands of investors and pleaded guilty to fraud charges.

He ran his scheme for at least two decades, using his investment advisory service to cheat individuals, charities, celebrities and institutional investors.

He never made investments but paid people with money invested by others.