The following excerpt is taken from Brian Ross's book "The Madoff Chronicles," published by Hyperion.
Bernard Madoff's sons Andrew and Mark knew him to be a generous man.
Thanks to their father, they were both multi-millionaires. Madoff paid his boys big salaries at the family firm, gave them platinum American Express cards, loaned them money for expensive homes, helped them through divorces, and provided millions of dollars to their charitable foundations.
We gave them everything, their mother Ruth would later lament when Bernie's crimes split parents and children in an ugly family feud rife with accusations and recriminations.
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"Why don't you investigate those two boys," said one person close to Ruth Madoff. "You'll never find anyone more self-serving."
"He was a crook and she was an enabler," said a person close to the sons, describing the boys' parents.
Andrew was crushed by his father's arrest and the aftermath. "Now, we're orphans," he told someone close to him.
The boys were raised amidst wealth and privilege in the New York suburb of Roslyn, on Long Island. Mark was the eldest, born in 1964. Andy was two years younger, born in 1966. There never seemed to be any question that they would join the family business.
"They started at the bottom," recalled Madoff's long-time secretary Eleanor Squillari. "It was nice to see two brothers who were so close." Each had a distinctive personality. "Mark was more vibrant and more noticeable. Andy's very reserved and polite. He keeps to himself. He observes before he gets to know you."
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Even before they finished college, Bernie had the boys come to the office. "When Mark first came in," Eleanor said, "before he started working full time, he used to sit out and answer the phones with me. He seemed to know so many of the people, because he grew up around these people."
According to federal prosecutors, their father's huge scam was secretly operating full steam by the time his sons joined the firm.
Mark received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics at the University of Michigan and joined the firm at age 22, in 1986. Andrew started working for his father in February, 1988 at the age of 22, after graduating the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton Business School with a Bachelor of Science in economics.
"He made them go to school, earn everything they got," said former office messenger "Little Rick," who remembers Mark and Andy at some of Bernie's wilder office parties. "Andy gave the persona of being uptight while Mark was more laid back, liked the topless bars and stuff like that."
They could both be spoiled brats as young men. Little Rick says they infuriated their mother when they "trashed" a motel room in Montauk during one of the summer beach parties held for Madoff employees.
On another occasion, Little Rick says he had to intervene when Mark's close friend Jeff Wilpon had a heated argument with "one of our girls" at a Madoff firm Christmas party at a restaurant under the Brooklyn Bridge. Wilpon is the son of one of Madoff's biggest investors, Fred Wilpon, the real estate developer and owner of the New York Mets baseball team.