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Ruth Madoff: Homeless and without a hairdresser as husband gets 150 years in jail


Ponzi scheme swindler Bernard Madoff, the 71-year-old financier whose greed wiped out fortunes, ruined retirements, bankrupted several prominent Jewish charities and even led some investors to commit suicide, was sentenced today to 150 years in jail.

Victims pleaded with the court to throw the book at him as federal prosecutors sought the maximum term -- 150 years -- for what is considered the largest heist in Wall Street history, now estimated at $13 billion. And he did.

Madoff  apologized to his victims -- "I'm sorry," he said, turning to face them. But Judge Denny Chin gave the perp the maximum because, he explained, Madoff never cooperated with prosecutors -- about either  who might have helped him in his elaborate deception or where the money had gone to. When the judge pronounced his verdict, the courtroom erupted in applause. For once, the judge did not gavel them to silence.

Even as the Bernard Madoff sentencing took center stage, Ruth Madoff, the swindler's wife of 49 years, was drawing almost as much ink as her husband.

Two weeks ago, in a piece entitled "The Loneliest Woman in New York," the New York Times reported that her usual salon, Pierre Michel, on Manhattan's tony Upper East Side, had told her not to return for her every-six-weeks blond foil highlights.

Ruth Madoff made a deal with federal prosecutors last week to sell most of the couple's assets -- the $7.5-million co-op and primary residence in Manhattan, the $11-million house in Palm Beach, Fla., the $3-million beach house on Montauk, at the tip of Long Island and, as the Wall Street Journal reported this morning, jewelry insured at more than $2.6 million and two fur coats valued at $48,500. In exchange, the Justice Department agreed to let the 68-year-old woman keep $2.5 million.

Now, the New York Post is reporting that landlords don't want to rent to Mrs. Madoff, who is shopping for an apartment. She has started using her maiden name, Alpern, but no luck there either.

"She has nowhere to go," a top broker said. "No one wants someone with her name in their building. People like their privacy."

-- Johanna Neuman

Photo: Mary Altaffer / Associated Press

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Comments () | Archives (14)

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This woman surely knew exactly what her husband was doing. She should be investigated, and should get nothing from her husband's theft.

Ruth Madoff is pathetic. She deserves to be in jail along side him.

How come it is so easy for people to get charged with accessory to a crime for simple proximity issues yet the wife of a massive fraudsters gets off with a treasure chest full of money that was certainly funded by Bernie's scam cash?

She's a woman. At the heart of every woman is a grave digger who is just looking for survival. $2.5 million is more than enough for her to live more comfortably than the majority of people in this country.

Let's hope she dies in a fire, slowly.

I'd keep an eye on her. I can't help thinking they squirelled at least some of that money away somewhere for later retrieval.

Bernie Madoff was sentenced for 150 years in prison. His wife Ruth Madoff feel shouck and outraged by his crimes as the victims. Ruth Madoff has agreed to give up over $80 million in assets, keeping only $2.5 million in cash of the family fortune including all real estate. Finally broke her media blackout to express her anguish and pain of the lie kept from her by the man she loved. Ruth Madoff won't go to prison or need short term loans, but she's doing the right thing.

Am I the only one who actually feels sorry for this woman?

"She's a woman. At the heart of every woman is a grave digger who is just looking for survival."

Wow, Jon. Hate women much?

$2.5 million, and she can't rent an apartment? BOO FREAKIN' HOO, LADY! Go buy a freakin' house in Queens or Brooklyn.

Seriously, with that much money, she could probably buy up the entire Brightmoor neighborhood in Detroit!

Ruth Madoff is innocent I assume. She is being skapegoated needlessly. This is America where we are innocent until proven guilty. From what I gather she has been investigated and no evidence has been found as yet linking her to her husband's business dealings. I have skimmed articles about her and she seems to be a dear, sweet woman. All of this ostracism is absolutely uncalled for. Assuming she is innocent, she and her children are also victims of this heinous scandal.

I hope Ruth Madoff has a good memory and can recall her days as a middle-class New Yorker. NOW her Social Security checks will be necessary for her day-to-day needs. She will have to re-learn how to use the subway and bus systems. She will have to search for a modest apartment and live within her means. I suggest she explore the outer boroughs where rents are cheaper. She might return to Laurelton, but she might have to take a train and bus to get to her precious Manhattan. There could be a local hairdresser there who won't recognize her. I would suggest a local Supercuts. They give a senior discount and the prices are fairly low. She might try going to some Big Box stores to save a few pennies. If she has any questions about reacclimating to her new, reduced lifestyle, she can inquire from anyone defrauded by her husband, or any new neighbor she encounters. I know it will be difficult to live off the interest from her $2.5 Million, plus her Social Security entitlement, but she is lucky she isn't in prison, so far. There is no question that she knew all about the gigantic fraud. Her SOULMATE of 50 years couldn't have concealed it from her. In fact, I'm sure Ruth studied bookkeeping at Far Rockaway High School and put it to use as soon as she got married.

If she takes $2.5 million and puts it in a 2% CD she will make $50,000 per year in interest. Add that to her Social Security benefits and she will live much beter than the majority of folks in the USA, and still have $2.5 million in the bank.

NY Times writes about her Ruth Madoff, 68, has not been charged with any crime or even questioned by prosecutors. But she has become perhaps the most vilified spouse of a financial rogue in history. When her husband, Bernard Madoff, divulged his Ponzi scheme, a $65-billion fraud for which he awaits sentencing later this month, Mrs. Madoff’s life was also ruined. Although no evidence has emerged to date that she conspired or even knew about her husband’s crimes, her plight has evoked no apparent public sympathy. She has been pilloried and turned into a pariah.
I'm afraid that her financial situation will getting worse.

This lady has done nothing wrong. What her husband did in the office has no bearing on her character or ethos. Had she known, which would be difficult to prove she would deserve to be convicted along with him. Until then, she's just a lady that married a wrong guy. Something that happens far to often.

Not sure I totally agree with the without a hair dresser comment :) She looks like her hair is nice to me.

"Posted by: Jon | June 29, 2009 at 06:55 PM
At the heart of every woman is a grave digger who is just looking for survival."
DO you have proof she knew of her husbands workings & theft?
There are many women in this world that may do well to know where
their comforts come from and what their husbands do behind their backs,
but they Do NOT!
The investigators would of been happy to have fed her to the dogs, they did not, therefore I assume her to be uninvolved.

Jon- Try to remember where the seed that grew you was planted, I trust it
was not in a tube? Imo, "You" are a true misogynist.

@ Karen V. Stefanini, you would think so, but it's not so in the courtroom of the heinous public opinion and mob mentality, innocent does not exist there.

Now her son has committed suicide, no amount of money will ever give her peace of mind, as for her hair, you've got to be kidding, I've seen worse and
as for the hairdresser - what a jerk.


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A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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