The son of Bernard Madoff's longtime accountant, who himself pleaded guilty to securities fraud in the scandal centered on the disgraced financier, has committed suicide in central Ohio, authorities said.
Jeremy Friehling, 23, was found dead Thursday of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in his apartment in Columbus, where he was a second-year student at Ohio State University's medical school, police there said.
There was no indication that the Madoff investment scandal had anything to do with the suicide, Franklin County Coroner Jan Gorniak said. She said Friehling left a note that just said he was sorry. Police detective Jay Fulton confirmed yesterday that Friehling left a note but would not give details about its contents.
The Friehling family declined to comment and "asks that their privacy be respected at this difficult time," Andrew Lankler, an attorney for Friehling's father, said yesterday.
Bernard Madoff was arrested in 2008 and admitted later that his investment business was a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme. He was sentenced to 150 years in prison. His son, Mark Madoff, committed suicide in December 2010, hanging himself in his Manhattan apartment.
Friehling's father, David, of New City, N.Y., pleaded guilty in 2009 to securities fraud charges. He has yet to be sentenced, as he is continuing to work with prosecutors. He pleaded guilty to charges that carry a potential prison term of up to 114 years, though substantial cooperation can result in significant leniency.
Jeremy Friehling was "a friend to many and a brilliant student who gave selflessly of his time to tutor other students," said a statement from the dean of the Ohio State medical school, Charles Lockwood. He said Friehling had great promise as a future physician.