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NEW YORK – The eldest son of Bernard Madoff committed suicide today.  Or did he?

The eldest son of disgraced financier Bernard Madoff hanged himself by a dog leash in his Manhattan apartment on Saturday, the second anniversary of his father’s arrest in a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme that swindled thousands of investors of their life savings, law enforcement officials said.

Mark Madoff, 46, was found hanging from a ceiling pipe in the living room of his SoHo loft apartment as his 2-year-old son slept in a nearby bedroom, two law enforcement officials told The Associated Press.

But there is already speculation in and around New York that Mark Madoff’s suicide was faked and that the eldest son has fled the country to live on an island off the African coast.

“I’ll believe he’s dead when I see the body, and even then I might not believe it,” said David Sternberg, a investor who lost over thirty million dollars with Bernie Madoff.  “This family has been screwing with the victims for the last two years.  I’m sure this is some scam as well.”

Madoff, who reported his father to authorities, has never been criminally charged in the biggest investment fraud in U.S. history, that has snared a half-dozen Madoff employees.

Mark Madoff and his brother Andrew have said they were unaware of their father’s crimes. But they have been remained under investigation and been named in multiple investor lawsuits accusing them of profiting from the scheme.

“There’s no possible way they were unaware of their father’s activity. No way.  They were in it from the beginning,”  said Sternberg.

But a third law enforcement official said Sautrday that Madoff’s arrest was not imminent, and that investigators purusing possible charges against him, his brother and uncle hadn’t contacted him for more than a year. The official wasn’t authorized to speak publicly about the case and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Mark Madoff lawyer, Martin Flumenbaum insists that Mark Madoff DID, in fact, kill himself.

“This is a terrible and unnecessary tragedy,” Flumenbaum said in a written statement. “Mark was an innocent victim of his father’s monstrous crime who succumbed to two years of unrelenting pressure from false accusations and innuendo.”

A lawyer for Mark’s mother, Ruth Madoff, said, “She’s heartbroken.” The lawyer, Peter Chavkin, had no further comment.

The legal team assembled for the victims has formed a task force to look into the apparent “suicide” of Mark Madoff.  “We don’t believe anything about the Madoff’s.   They are all liars,” said Sternberg.

The law enforcement officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the death.  Hmmm…

So what do you think?