It's tough enough to get a job in this economy, but what happens when Madoff is part of your name?
That's the challenge facing Mark and Andrew Madoff, the sons of the man convicted of perpetrating the largest Ponzi scam in history, Bernard Madoff. Along with the dozens of other employees at Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, the Madoff brothers lost their jobs last year as their father's pyramid scheme and his business unraveled.
These days, Mark Madoff, 45, is wondering whether he can find another job in finance. Andrew Madoff, 43, has considered starting a disaster recovery firm, according to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal, which cited unnamed sources.
Ron Geffner, a former Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement attorney and a partner at the law firm Sadis & Goldberg, doesn't expect the brothers will have much luck.
"They're social pariahs," he said. "… I don't see anyone hiring them in securities industry, unless it's a long-time family friend, and the Madoffs are short on family friends."
ABCNews.com asked readers whether they would consider hiring the Madoffs -- and not surprisingly, most who responded said no. But there were also others who said that they, in fact, wouldn't mind adding the brothers to their payrolls. (For ABCNews.com readers' responses, see the next page.)
Mark and Andrew Madoff, who were co-directors of trading at their father's firm, were the ones who turned Bernard Madoff in after he confessed the scheme to them last year. But being whistleblowers hasn't shielded them from public criticism and legal battles.
In October, Irving Picard, the trustee appointed to liquidate Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities and recover money for Madoff's victims, filed a $199 million lawsuit against the brothers and two other Madoff relatives who also worked at the firm. In a written statement released at the time the claim was filed, Picard alleged that the Madoff family members were "completely derelict" in their duties at the firm and, as a result, "either failed to detect or failed to stop the fraud, thereby enabling and facilitating the Ponzi scheme."
Picard's claim said that both brothers were registered with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the independent regulator for U.S. securities firms.
The Madoff brothers' lawyer, in an e-mail to ABCNews.com, called the lawsuit's claims "baseless" and argued that ultimately, the brothers actually helped Madoff clients save money.
"Mark and Andrew Madoff had no prior knowledge of Bernard Madoff's crimes and contacted the U.S. Department of Justice and the SEC immediately after their father told them he had defrauded his investment advisory clients," said attorney Martin Flumenbaum. "By immediately turning him in, the brothers saved the victims of the fraud more than $170 million that their father was about to distribute."
Aside from contending that the brothers could have stopped the fraud, the lawsuit made another claim that would mar their resumes: that since 2007, the firm's businesses -- including the market-making business and the proprietary trading desk the brothers worked for -- would not have been profitable without the Ponzi scheme.
Geffner said the brothers would be best off looking for work outside the financial business -- they could, for instance, buy a fast food franchise or apply for jobs as civil servants.