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article imageBernie Madoff's wife says couple attempted suicide in 2008

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By Chris Hogg     Oct 27, 2011 in Business
Bernard Madoff, the man now famous for orchestrating the largest Ponzi scheme in history, tried to commit suicide in 2008. His wife says she downed a bunch of pills with him in an attempt to take their lives.
It was Christmas Eve in 2008 and Ruth and Bernie Madoff had just made a pact to commit suicide by swallowing a bunch of pills in their Manhattan penthouse.
"I don't know whose idea it was, but we decided to kill ourselves because it was so horrendous what was happening," Ruth Madoff told 60 Minutes' Morley Safer. "We had terrible phone calls. Hate mail, just beyond anything and I said '...I just can't go on anymore.'"
Ruth talked with Safer about her husband's crimes and how it impacted their family in a 60 Minutes segment that will air on Oct 30.
Bernie Madoff
Bernie Madoff
U.S. Department of Justice
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Before attempting suicide, Ruth put together a package which was mailed to their son Andrew that included family keepsakes like jewelry.
Then, Ruth says she and Bernie took Ambien and possibly Klonopin, but avoided alcohol because she was worried about vomitting.
"I took what we had, he took more," Ruth said in the interview. "That added to the whole depression." But the pills didn't work. "We took pills and woke up the next day....It was very impulsive and I am glad we woke up," she says.
Bernie Madoff is now serving a 150-year sentence at a federal prison in Butner, N.C. for bilking investors out of $64.8 billion. The massive Ponzi scheme included many victims, from charities to university endowments, to hedge funds and Madoff's extended family.
Since his sentencing, Ruth has been living in seclusion in Florida, the New York Times reports.
Both Ruth and Bernie have said publicly that the whole ordeal has caused a lot of pain for them and their families. Mark Madoff, the couple's eldest son, committed suicide two years after his father went to jail.
Ruth Madoff says the couple never again talked about suicide and she is not aware of Bernie ever attempting it again.
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