Home Pop Culture Why did Bernie Maddoff’s accountant’s son Jeremy Friehling shoot himself dead?

Why did Bernie Maddoff’s accountant’s son Jeremy Friehling shoot himself dead?

Jeremy Friehling
Jeremy Friehling
Jeremy Friehling
Jeremy Friehling

Jeremy Friehling the 23 year old son of David Friehling, the accountant who helped Bernie Madoff conceal a pyramid scheme to the tune of $65 billion killed himself last night.

Attending medical school at Columbus, Ohio his body was found after concerned friends alerted authorities and found him deceased with a self inflicted gunshot at his apartment.

According to the UK’s dailymail, Jeremy Friehling had posted a variety of erratic comments on his Facebook page yesterday prompting concerned friends to reach out to authorities to check on the young man’s welfare.

The suicide follows that of Mark Madoff, eldest son of Bernie Madoff who took his own life in 2010, who along with his brother Andrew Madoff ran a separate division at Madoff Securities where both brothers insisted they were totally oblivious to their father’s corrupt schemes under the Madoff umbrella.

At the time Mark Madoff took his own life on the second anniversary of his father’s arrest at his Manhattan apartment where authorities found him hanging by a dog leash with his youngest son in the other room.

At present bilked victims have sued to get a portion of their money returned to them after suing trustees with a sum close to $1.49 billion to $2.43 billion ordered to be released this past July.

During investigations of the Madoff ponzi scheme which allowed Bernie Madoff and his family to lead a conspicuously wealthy lifestyle, David Friehling, Madoff’s accountant  admitted to rubber stamping fraudulent audits that facilitated Madoff’s decades-long Ponzi scheme.

Since being charged with fraud, David Friehling has cooperated with authorities. He also forfeited $3 million he earned by working as Madoff’s accountant. He is scheduled for sentencing in April 2013, but that is likely to be adjourned again as has been the case repeatedly as prosecutors say he’s now assisting them as a witness in another case. Of note is the fact that David Friehling has maintained he was unaware of Madoff’s $65 billion deception.Bernard Madoff who has been the sole individual jailed in relation to the scheme is currently serving out a 150 year prison sentence.

Ultimately one can only guess at the real reasons as to why Jeremy Friehling chose to take his life. Was it the guilt of his father’s actions, the sense of a false life lived and not earned with integrity? Was it a sense that he too could only find honor by choosing to make an example of himself, to become a martyr to a damned cause? Or was it simply the fact that the young man lost his nerve and could no longer look those with whom he coveted in the eye….?



  1. I have read this late, of course. Your note rings true. I went to school with David, his father. A young handsome man raised with money and a lovely family, owners of one of the best hotels in the Catskills in it’s hey day..The Stevensville. David was a ladies man, funny, bright, very likable. Back in the 70’s who knew he would come to be embroiled in such a disgraceful mess. His parents must be spinning in their graves. He came from a wonderful family who worked hard for what they earned. To see that his son has killed himself is heart breaking. I think that perhaps greed got the best of everyone in this sad saga. RIP Jeremy.

  2. Perhaps
    being so young the older people in this situation misled them and they
    saw easy big money were assured that’s how it’s done then in this case
    they were all faced with the real people behind their scam the people
    who lost everything not just their mansion or whatever maybe the kid had
    a conscience or maybe he was so spoiled he couldn’t stand bit being the
    rich kid that was untouchable as before

  3. What a good looking young man. It is so sad and tragic that his beautiful face will no longer smile and his loving heart no longer beats, and he is gone. I instantly thought of what a fabulous man he must have been and how many people must have loved him. How sad for the world that he is gone. It is hard to live, sometimes, I understand, because life can be difficult and sad, and for that I hope that he is in the arms of the angels and has passed on to the light. The world lost his light and his love, and we are saddened. Rest in peace, beautiful Jeremy.

  4. The reason for the suicide is of no consequence.It is all a guessing game and it won’t bring him back. This is a tragedy of unimaginable proportions.
    The people who knew him who have posted here have indicated that he was an incredible young man.
    May his family find strength in their memories and may they never know any more sorrow.

  5. As another high school classmate and friend of Jeremy’s, I also feel obligated to comment on this. Obviously everyone points to David’s situation as the most apparent reason for what he did, but doing so really is an injustice to Jeremy. He was unequivocally the smartest and most driven person I have ever met, and probably ever will meet. He was voted the most likely to succeed in our high school class for good reason, and it is nothing but sad that our vision for him will not come to fruition. I’m not upset with the reporting as it is your duty as a journalist to report this angle, I just simply want readers to understand how incredible Jeremy really was. No comment on any article can do this, but any effort to show Jeremy’s true colors is worth it. RIP.

  6. Please see above. And try google searching depression and medical school. Good study came out last year on the high rates of depression in medical school. Then take a look at suicide rates of doctors- it is high. Every 24 hours 1-2 doctors in the US commits suicide. It is shoddy reporting to not fully examine what may have been an important contributing factor to Jeremey’s death.

  7. Med school is a pressure cooker -I know, I went through it. Depression rates are very high for med students, and doctors have a higher than average rate of suicide. While I was in med school, 2 students committed suicide. While a resident, a fellow resident jumped of the top deck of the parking lot (2 days after we had call together). I think it’s crazy to say that Jeremy was acting out anything related to Madoff. I think this tragedy demonstrates that medical schools need to be honest about the stress they put students through, and to make mental health services available in a confidential way so that students don’t get stigmatized. My thoughts are with Jeremy and his family.

  8. Jeremy earned everything in his life probably with more integrity than anyone else I’ve ever met. From a high school friend of Jeremy’s, the answer to each of your offensive and ignorant questions is no.

  9. Opinions by very definition can never be false or true but just that, a point of view expressed. They are never portended to be facts. You are free to agree or disagree with such opinions. Good luck.

  10. You should never, as a writer, insinuate false situations or your false opinions on a deceased. Unless you knew him personally, you cannot simply write whatever the heck you want in an effort to drive in more hits.

    You don’t even know if his death had anything to do with his father’s circumstances and the fact you related the two, without really knowing anything is deplorable.

    Maybe you should check out NY Magazine or the Daily News on how to write a news piece on a young kid who recently passed away. No reputable news company writes such a piece without knowing the facts…and even if these were the facts (which I doubt), there is a certain respectful manner which you should have for your readers, the deceased, and the family and friends who recently lost one. Good Luck.

  11. I usually don’t like to get involved with readers, and let them say as they please, aware that sometimes what we write will have the effect of offending, peeving and infuriating readers whilst at the same time enabling a lively debate as to other ideas no matter how palatable.

    In the end the whole fiasco with the Madoff Ponzi scheme was deplorable and I know many individuals who suffered handsomely as a result of that. This article is not to lay blame at the young man who took his own life, for that I believe is never the right option, but to attempt to understand how the tragedy of the giant swindle has now once again played itself out.

    In the end I can not volunteer what necessarily led to this young man taking his life and to what degree his father’s involvement led to him feeling downbeat, embittered and in conflict as I imagine would be the case for any individual. That said you are right, it does take commitment, talent and resolve to become a valedictorian which Jeremy was and to be admitted on scholarship to medical school, which says a lot about an individual’s sense of integrity and pursuit of excellence. That said one can only wonder why in the face of such commitment why this young man gave it away and wasn’t able to attain the guidance and help that may have allowed him to see past those dark moments every human being has. – The Editor….

  12. To preface this, I have never in my life posted something in the comments section after reading an article. No matter how ignorant or misinformed an article may have been, I think it is important that people should be able to say whatever they want in order to facilitate healthy discussion. However after reading this I have never been more disgusted with anything in my life. I grew up with Jeremy. Not only did I go to school with him from kindergarten until we both graduated high school together, but he was also a teammate from when we were young boys to when we were young men. Jeremy was perhaps the smartest person my age I have ever met. He was brilliant and worked hard to achieve that brilliance. Never had I met someone who worked so hard to achieve his academic goals. To say he had “The sense of a false life lived and not earned with integrity” has no truth to it whatsoever. If anything he worked harder than anyone I knew. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to get a scholarship to Ohio State Medical School? People are not given scholarships to medical school. They earn scholarships to medical school.

    Instead of this fingerpointing trash, why don’t you choose to write about what is really important. What is important is to celebrate the life he led and the time we had with him. While Jeremy and myself may not have been as close in recent years as we had been in high school, I could not be more proud to have known him, and to have been able to have called him my friend.

    My thoughts and prayers go out to his family. May you find some comfort in knowing that Jeremy had been not only a great friend, but a role model to myself and others. He encouraged us to be the best we could be, in the classroom, on the field, and in life. I deeply appreciate everything he had done, and everything the Friehling’s have done for myself, my family, and our community. Rest in peace Jeremy, you will always be in our hearts…

  13. To insinuate that this young man took his own life because of his fathers sins is a disgrace. Does the fact that his father is under investigation make this less of a tragedy? Too many bright young men and women are feeling the need to take their own life. This is a tragedy. May God bless this family as they try to pick up the pieces. They are in my prayers for sure.

  14. No one but this young man knows the reason and everyone can assume, start rumors but only he will ever know why? God bless him

  15. Or, possibly, the reason is “none of the above” and you’re interested in sensationalizing what is essentially a family tragedy.

  16. Tragic. sounds like he was trying to make a difference. It is no small feat to go through medical school and it’s something you can’t fake your way through. Sad that we lost another young person who could have made a difference despite the actions of others.

  17. Why would you presume to know anything at all about Jeremy Friehling? Maybe it had nothing to do with his father’s crimes. Why don’t you have some respect for the dead and stick to what you’re good at, whatever that is.

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