Bernard Madoff's decades-long Ponzi scheme may have defrauded thousands of investors billions of dollars, but Kenneth Langone said "worst part" is the loss of life.
Mark Madoff, Bernie's oldest son, was found hanged in his New York City apartment in an apparent suicide on the second anniversary of his father's arrest.
Langone, a venture capitalist and investment banker of more than 30 years, said he was deeply saddened to see "the tragedy of a family disintegrated."
The Madoff sons and other family members had worked for Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, which crumbled when the Ponzi scheme was revealed.
Bernard Madoff, 72, was arrested on December 11, 2008, after his sons turned him in to authorities. Since then, Mark Madoff had not spoken with either of his parents, a source close to him said.
"I mean, I don't care how much money meant to him," Langone said of Bernard, who's currently serving a 150-year prison sentence for committing what's considered to be the biggest financial fraud in history. "He couldn't have gotten enough for the price he's paying now."
Two weeks before his Ponzi scheme unraveled, Langone said Madoff came to him. He was desperate for cash, yet "cool as a cucumber."
"As I said then, I wouldn't want to play poker with this guy," he recalled. "He'd take my pants and everything else."
Langone said it will likely remain a mystery as to whether the Madoff sons were involved in the scheme. But Langone is certain, however, of Bernard Madoff's character.
"We all know one thing: He's a crook. Bernie was a crook."
Langone previously served as director of the New York Stock Exchange. He also co-founded Home Depot and served as director of its executive committee from 1978-2008.
—Reuters contributed to this report