The sister of Bernie Madoff, the infamous Ponzi schemer who died in prison last year, and her husband were found dead in their Florida home Thursday in what police described as an apparent murder-suicide.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, in a statement posted to its social media accounts Sunday, said that officers arrived in Boynton Beach about 1 p.m. Thursday after receiving a report that “a male and female were unresponsive inside their residence.” They found an elderly couple with gunshot wounds, and detectives said signs pointed to a murder-suicide, the statement added.
On Facebook, the sheriff’s office named Sondra Wiener, 87, as one of the deceased. It did not name the man because it said his family chose to invoke a law that guarantees the right to privacy of crime victims. But in a tweet and earlier version of the Facebook post, the sheriff’s office named Marvin, 90, Sondra Wiener’s husband.
The police said the medical examiner’s office will make an official determination of their cause of death.
In 2009, Sondra Wiener’s son, David, told the New York Post that Madoff, the disgraced financier who masterminded what was perhaps the largest Ponzi scheme in history, defrauded his sister, as well. “My family’s a victim. More so than anybody else. It’s very painful,” he said.
Madoff, who died in prison in April, nearly 12 years into a 150-year sentence for money laundering, securities fraud and other charges, stole at least $20 billion of principal investments over some two decades from his investors, including Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel and filmmaker Steven Spielberg.
In 2020, when Madoff was battling health conditions and the U.S. Bureau of Prisons judged he had less than two years left to live, he asked for but was denied compassionate release. In phone interviews with The Washington Post that year, he expressed remorse for his crimes.
Madoff’s son Mark hanged himself on the second anniversary of his father’s arrest, making him the fourth person connected to the financier who died by suicide.
Madoff’s wife, Ruth, has said she and her husband tried to kill themselves on Christmas Eve in 2008 by taking “a bunch of pills.”
The Washington Post’s Emily Langer and Justin George contributed to this report.