Madoffs Attempted Suicide, Wife Says

Oct 27 2011 | 6:45am ET

Two weeks after his arrest for masterminding the largest Ponzi scheme in history, Bernard Madoff and his wife attempted to kill themselves.

The revelation comes in a "60 Minutes" interview with Madoff's wife, Ruth, almost three years after Madoff's Dec. 11, 2008, arrest, and almost one year after their eldest son, Mark, succeeded where they failed, hanging himself in his New York apartment on the two-year anniversary of his father's arrest.

"I don't know whose idea it was, but we decided to kill ourselves because it was so horrendous what was happening," Ruth Madoff said.

"We had terrible phone calls," she added. "Hate mail, just beyond anything and I said… 'I just can't go on anymore.'"

The couple put together a package of some items, including jewelry, and mailed it to their younger son, Andrew, in defiance of a court order. Three years later, "she told me that she and my father had planned to kill themselves," Andrew told "60 Minutes." "They put that package together beforehand and sent it out."

On Christmas Eve 2008, the Madoffs then took Ambien sleeping pills—as well as, possibly, Klonopin anti-anxiety medicine.

"We took the pills and woke up the next day," Ruth Madoff said. "It was very impulsive and I am glad we woke up."

Three months later, Madoff pleaded guilty to running the $65 billion scam. He was sentenced to 150 years in prison.

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