Convicted fraudster Bernie Madoff's sister, husband found dead

Madoff's sister, Sondra Wiener, 87, and her husband Marvin were found with gunshot wounds on Thursday in Boynton Beach, Florida in an apparent murder-suicide.

Accused swindler Bernard Madoff exits the Manhattan federal court house in New York, U.S. on January 14, 2009 (photo credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / AFP)
Accused swindler Bernard Madoff exits the Manhattan federal court house in New York, U.S. on January 14, 2009
(photo credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / AFP)

The sister of fraudster Bernie Madoff, who was convicted of masterminding the largest known Ponzi scheme in history, and her husband died last week from an apparent murder-suicide, authorities said on Sunday.

Madoff's sister, Sondra Wiener, 87, and her husband Marvin were found with gunshot wounds on Thursday in Boynton Beach, Florida, according to a statement from the Palm Beach Sheriff's Office.

"After further investigation it appears to be a murder/suicide," the office said. The medical examiner will determine the cause of death.

Madoff died at age 82 last year in federal prison, where he was serving a 150-year sentence.

His massive scheme, estimated as high as $64.8 billion, went undiscovered for years and ensnared thousands of victims, including charities, hedge funds, celebrities and pension funds.

A view of Yeshiva University (credit: SCALIGERA/ENGLISH WIKIPEDIA)A view of Yeshiva University (credit: SCALIGERA/ENGLISH WIKIPEDIA)

Madoff's victims included Yeshiva University, where he served as the treasurer of the Board of Trustees and which lost over $100 million; the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles with losses of $25.5 million; and Washington’s Jewish Federation, which was bilked of $10 million. The Ramaz day school in New York lost over $5 million, while the American Jewish Congress found that about two-thirds of its nearly $17 million endowment was gone. 

Madoff also reportedly scammed Elie Wiesel’s charitable foundation out of over $36 million. The Wall Street Journal reported that Steven Spielberg’s charity, the Wunderkinder Foundation, invested nearly 70% of its money with Madoff, most of which was lost. And Fred Wilpon, the Jewish owner of the New York Mets, was forced to pay $162 million in restitution, eventually forcing him to sell the team.