Ruth Madoff is either guilty, an ostrich or not very bright–take your pick. Displaying the ultimate in chutzpah, the wife of con-artist Bernie Madoff expects the American public–not to mention her husband’s betrayed investors–to believe the couple’s $70 million in assets that are in Ruth’s name are unrelated to her husband’s illicit “investment” business and that Ruth Madoff was unaware of Bernie’s audacious Ponzi scheme.
Did I mention that Ruth Madoff also has a bridge for sale in Brooklyn?
Although Ruth and Bernie Madoff were as tight as the Bobbsey Twins–dining out as a cozy twosome almost every night and rarely traveling apart-Ruth Madoff now wants us to believe her Colonel Klink “I know nothing” version of events. So, what did Ruth and Bernie talk about every night at dinner, the kids? the weather? whether to weekend in Palm Springs? Surely Ruth must have asked Bernie something about his unusually successful investment strategy, which turned out to be nothing more than a garden variety Ponzi scheme: paying off liquidating investors with new investment money.
Ruth: So tell me Bernie, why is it that you are the only man on Wall Street who makes the same return for his clients month after month, no matter what the stock market does?
Bernie: Never mind that, Ruthie, pass the butter.
Okay, so maybe Ruth’s graduate degree is in nutrition and not business–but really, how could she not help but smell something fishy was going on? And it wasn’t flounder.
Maybe it’s because Ruth herself was not exactly a Girl Scout when it came to honesty. She purported to write a cookbook called The Great Chefs of America Cook Kosher: Over 175 Recipes From America’s Greatest Restaurants with her friend Idee Schoenheimer, but food and wine expert Karen MacNeil, who was listed as an editor of the book, told The New York Times she actually wrote the entire book herself–without any help from the two socialite figureheads. (Source: www.nytimes.com/2009/01/15/business/15cook.html)
(We will, of course, refrain from making any snarky comments about Ruth Madoff’s only cookbooks being the books she “cooked” for her husband’s unsuspecting clients; the pun is just too obvious.)
Meanwhile, according to RightPundits.com, Ruth Madoff had some sort of financial account that mixed personal and investment fund monies, and she shrewdly withdrew more than $15 million from a brokerage account that she shared with husband Bernie just a few weeks before he was arrested. (Source: http://www.rightpundits.com/?p=3299)
Coincidence? How about letting a jury decide.
If by some miracle Ruth Madoff is not charged with conspiring with her husband Bernie, she may end up financially far better off than her predecessor, Rose Ponzi, whose husband Charles devised the first eponymous Ponzi Scheme. Rose Ponzi had to endure losing all of her possessions when auctioneers sold off everything in her New England mansion; she even had to ride the trolley or ask for a ride to visit her husband in prison (the couple’s limousine was repossessed, natch). Poor Rose had to move in with relatives and get an actual job.
What, then, is to become of the latter day Ponzi’s wife Ruth? Now that Bernie Madoff has plead guilty, the spotlight has turned on Ruth and the couple’s two sons, Mark and Andrew. At Bernie Madoff’s court hearing, duped investors were not amused when the money that was used to hire security for Bernie at his Park Avenue penthouse apartment was referred to as Ruth’s money, as if Ruth Madoff had somehow earned her millions personally through hard work, skill or talent.
Investment specialist Jeffrey Sonn, who is representing some of Bernie Madoff’s victims, is not buying the argument that Ruth Madoff’s money is unconnected to her husband’s multi-billion dollar investment scam. “We are all skeptical of that claim because how did she earn $70 million?” Sonn asked. “She’s going to have to show a trail to show it came from somewhere other than Madoff securities.” (Source: http://www.phillyburbs.com/news/news_details/article/116/2009/march/12/madoffs-wife-may-have-trouble-protecting-assets.html)
If she ends up being stripped of her millions, will Ruth Madoff have to get a real job like Rose Ponzi or, worse, end up in prison stripes like her husband, Bernie?
Stay tuned for next week’s installment of Days of Their Lies.