Now he knows how it feels. Bernie Madoff looked “like someone had shot him in the stomach” after he got word that his eldest son had committed suicide, a recent inmate at his federal lockup told The NY Post.
“He was crying, and he was very distraught,” the ex-con said. “No one was messing with him. They knew what had happened.”
The details of Mark Madoff’s death last Shabbos were given to the Ponzi-scheme fiend at around noon — about five hours after his 46-year-old son’s body was found hanged by a dog leash from the ceiling of his SoHo loft.
Madoff, like his fellow jailbirds, was stunned when the intercom crackled, “Inmate Madoff, report to the chapel.”
“That’s when everybody knew that something was going on. Every time there’s a death of a relative, you have to report to the chapel,” the former inmate said.
Madoff is serving a 150-year sentence at the Butner Federal Correctional Complex in North Carolina for bilking investors out of an estimated $20 billion.
Mark Madoff, who with his brother had turned their father in to authorities in 2008, killed himself exactly two years after his father’s arrest.
At the lockup, inmates initially thought Bernie’s call to the chapel involved his wife, Ruth.
“Everyone was speculating that someone might have killed his wife,” the ex-con said.
After his sobbing return to his cell, Madoff went into a self-imposed exile for two days, the ex-con said.
“He didn’t come out of his cell. He didn’t even go to the chow hall,” he said. “He didn’t talk to anyone for a couple of days.”
“Two of his pals [in his prison clique] gave him their sympathy, but there was nothing else they could do,” he added.
At this prison, inmates refer to their various cliques as “cars,” the ex-con noted.
Madoff, he said, belongs to the “New York car” – inmates all tried and sentenced in New York.
“These are the guys he hangs out with, walks along an outside track with and plays boccie with,” the ex-con said.
He didn’t have any knowledge of Madoff asking for or needing grief counseling.
“They don’t throw it on you – you have to ask for it,” the ex-con said.
By last Sunday, he said, the entire prison found out who had died – and how – after watching the news on TV.
“Then everybody knew,” he said.
Eventually, Madoff emerged from his cell and was back to his normal routine by Tuesday, the ex-con said.
“He got back into the groove,” he said. “He was getting back into prison time.”
The ex-con said he has since learned that Bernie was steamed that neither Ruth nor any other family members had been to the prison to grieve with him.
“He’s upset that his wife hasn’t come down to see him because of [her] fears that the media is at the prison, and that she’ll be harassed,” he said.
“He thinks the family is trying to avoid the media.”
Madoff biographer Jerry Oppenheimer, who had spoken with family friends and relatives, has told The Post that Ruth Madoff blames Bernie for Mark’s death.