A son of disgraced Wall Street financier Bernard Madoff called authorities in a panic after receiving a text message he thought was a suicide note from his dad months after his December 2008 fraud scheme arrest, a new book says.
The forthcoming book, "Truth and Consequences," recounts how Andrew Madoff and his brother, Mark Madoff, got the message on their cellphones in March 2009. Bernard Madoff told his sons he loved them and to look after their mother.
Andrew Madoff called police, who checked on his father and found no cause for concern.
The book also has wife and mother Ruth Madoff recounting how she and Bernard Madoff tried to kill themselves weeks after his arrest.
"Truth and Consequences" will be published by Little, Brown and Co. on Oct. 31. The Associated Press bought a copy Thursday.
Bernard Madoff, who stole billions of dollars in the largest Ponzi scheme in history and pleaded guilty to fraud charges, recently told an interviewer he has terrible remorse and horrible nightmares over his epic scheme but feels happier in prison than he's felt in 20 years.
Barbara Walters told ABC's "Good Morning America" on Thursday that she interviewed Madoff for two hours at the prison in Butner, N.C., where he's serving a 150-year sentence. No cameras were allowed in the prison.
Walters said Madoff, who's in his 70s, told her he thought about suicide before being sent to prison but since he's been there he no longer thinks about it.
His comments come ahead of his wife's appearance on Sunday's edition of CBS' "60 Minutes." Ruth Madoff said in excerpts that they tried to kill themselves on Christmas Eve 2008.
"I don't know whose idea it was, but we decided to kill ourselves because it was so horrendous what was happening," she says in the interview, according to excerpts released by CBS.
She says the couple took "a bunch of pills" including the insomnia prescription medication Ambien, but they both woke up the next day. She says the decision was "very impulsive" and she's glad they didn't die.
Andrew Madoff also will talk about his experience on CBS.
Mark Madoff hanged himself by a dog leash last year on the anniversary of his father's arrest. Like his parents, he had swallowed a batch of sleeping pills in a failed suicide attempt 14 months earlier, according to his widow's new book, "The End of Normal: A Wife's Anguish, A Widow's New Life."
Bernie Madoff was arrested on Dec. 11, 2008, the morning after his sons notified authorities through an attorney that he had confessed to them that his investment business was a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme and he had cheated thousands of investors.
Madoff ran his scheme for at least two decades, using his investment advisory service to cheat individuals, charities, celebrities and institutional investors.
An investigation found Madoff never made any investments, instead using the money from new investors to pay returns to existing clients — and to finance a lavish lifestyle for his family. Losses have been estimated at around $20 billion, making it the biggest investment fraud in U.S. history.