June 30th, 2009

Mrs. Madoff finally makes a statement

And here it is.

Too little, too late? Why the big delay? And, as many point out (see, for instance, the comments section here), if she’s so distraught over the victims’ loss, why keep the 2.5 million she’s fought for? Why not give it to them?

Perhaps Ruth is guilty as the day is long. Perhaps she belongs in prison with her hubby, as do their children. And if they’re guilty, I hope that’s exactly where they go.

So far, though, there’s no evidence to pin on her (or them), despite the feelings of many people that she must have known, had to have known.

But let’s just hypothesize for the sake of a thought experiment that she and the family are innocent (I’ve done so before, and offered my reasoning here and here, despite howls of commenter disagreement). If so, then they would in some ways have been Madoff’s biggest victims, although previously they were his biggest beneficiaries.

I know this may sound absurd and even offensive. And believe me, I say this not through any lack of empathy for his clearly innocent victims, the other investors (several of whom I happen to know personally).

I say it because, if the family members actually are innocent, they’ve not only lost much of the wealth to which they’d grown accustomed (like the rest of the victims), not only been betrayed in the fiduciary sense by Madoff (like the rest of the victims), but they also (once again, this is only presuming their innocence, of which I’m certainly not convinced—I merely think it is a not-insignificant possibility) would have been betrayed on the most deeply personal level of all: conned by their beloved and trusted husband and father, his whole life of supposedly great accomplishment (and, by extrapolation, theirs as well) revealed to be not only a sham but a cheat, and their good names dragged down in the dirt with his, never to be recovered. Nothing they could ever do to assert their innocence will convince people of it, even if they are exonerated in every court of law in the country.

[NOTE: By the way, if Ruth Madoff is innocent, I have no explanation for her long delay in making her statement---except perhaps shock. I must say that I find the time lag very suspicious. But as far as keeping the 2.5 million dollars goes, she probably thinks that's the bare minimum needed for survival, compared to her previous life. Can't say that reflects too well on her either.]

7 Responses to “Mrs. Madoff finally makes a statement”

  1. Tom Says:

    Uhhh, she is innocent until proven guilty. And living off the income of $2.5 mill invested in tax-free munis at 4% means living on $100K/yr. That ain’t much, esp. in NYC.
    Why should she volunteer to live in a cardboard box? Let ‘em charge her, try her, bankrupt her with legal fees, convict her, then house and feed her.

    As to her silence, I am inclined to put it down to loyalty, then ambivalence about joining the many who have badmouthed her husband of lo! these many years.

  2. JESS Says:

    Madoff he is a lair and criminal should by hanged as he enjoyed 65bilions with his family for so long and now tax money will spend on him in the prison as long as he will live.

    There were seven or eight investigations in 1992 all those investigation clear this ugly thief, should those who clear him brought back and put in prison with him as they either left him free or they don’t know very basics of financial process and secrets.

    If they did look how the money used and invested by this thug what they done then?

    Also those in small group in Madoff’s company who helped him to manage his company should be also brought to justices as they “Knowingly” helped him in his work.

  3. I R A Darth Aggie Says:

    I’m inclined to chalk her silence up to one our cherished rights, the right to keep your mouth shut. If only more people took this path!

    Strange, tho, that Mrs. Madoff should have known what was transpiring, and yet some how Rep. Barney Frank shouldn’t have known that his lover was running a male prostition ring out of his own house?

    Curious, that.

  4. csimon Says:

    True Mrs. Madoff is innocent until proven guilty, however, a few of her actions before Madoff was arrested, show at the very least that she was consciously scheming to hide or keep property:

    1. Approx. 2 yrs. before their denouement, the estate in Palm Beach, FL — a vacation home — was put in her name and she applied for Homestead exemption, which is a law in FL that provides that if you declare bankruptcy, creditiors may not force you to sell your home — no matter how much it is worth!
    Of course, it was clear to anyone who knew the couple that their primary home was in NYC. She was denied the Homestead exemption.
    She reapplied the following year, and somehow, (magically?) whe received the grant.

    2. Literally, just days before Mr. Madoff “confessed” to his 2
    sons that the whole business was a Ponzi scheme and when they supposedly turned him in, Mrs. Madoff withdrew $17.5 million from Cohmad Securities claiming it was her own money separate and apart from her husband’s.

    3. Very soon after his arrest, Mrs. Madoff was caught when she and her husband tried to send “trinkets” — over a million dollars worth of diamond watches and other jewelry, as well as a few “trinkets” to family and friends.

    There is no dispute about the above facts.

    Tom — you may not think $2.5 million is a whole lot of money, nor is $100,000 in income (tax free since invested in municipal bonds), but tell that to the victims who have been thru a nightmare finding themselves without the investment income they relied upon — income on money they EARNED — to live. Most have been forced to move in with children, sell any property they owned (if any) in the middle of one of the worst recessions — especially when referring to housing markets, in order to feed themselves, let alone pay for the very basics in living costs that they worked long and hard over lifetimes to earn, and had the foresight to save and invest.

    This is not meant to be a rebuke — simply a reminder of a more reasonable perspective. That $2.5 million was most likely obtained thru fraud, and I don’t care what lifestyle she had become accostomed to, she is not entitled to any property that was stolen.

    By the way, has anyone wondered where the money came from to pay Madoff’s lawyer, Ira Sorkin. Regarded as one of the top defense lawyers in NYC, I guarantee he cost a pretty penny and his fees likely were paid from tainted funds.

    Lastly, in all the articles in the last few days from anticipating the sentencing thru the aftermath, I have not seen a single word about the countless charities, medical research projects, educational funds that have had to shut down because so many victims, who had been so generous philanthropically, are no longer able to continue giving. That fact should not be left unmentioned.

    Finally, full disclosure: I am a victim, and much, much worse, is that my father, who will turn 87 in Nov., is also. He literally worked a lifetime beginning with an accounting job paying less than $36/week (!), is a straight arrow who served his country, raised a family, put three kids through college, and then lived a relatively modest lifestyle so he could fulfill the responsibility of saving for his later years, both for comfortable living circumstances, and for contingency in case of (G-d Forbid!) illness.

    And while the govt. let Mrs. Madoff keep $2.5 million, the SIPC, the insurance company that was formed by Congress and is funded by money managers to insure just such a fraud, has not paid a nickel out in the last seven months, since most victims found themselves penniless. Also, while still vigorously pursuing its options in order to recover funds, neither has the court-appointed receivor distributed anything. It must be remembered, too, that our govt.’s SEC is highly responsible for, and possibly complicit in the loss of funds invested since 1992 or 1993 when whistleblower Markopoulous reported Madoff’s fraud as well as detailed explanation and facts on how he perpetrated said fraud. He did this again a year or two later when no action whatsoever had been taken by the Commission. A number of other complaints were registered in the ensuing years, and the upshot is that the Commission never conducted a full investigation — which is their express purpose! We did due diligence, making numerous inquiries from long-time investors, independent advisors and money managers in the investment community well-acquainted with Bernard Madoff, and checked his record to insure there was no record of malfeasance, which, of course, there was not. Had there been even a hint of potential problems, we never would have invested with this man. I can say that assuredly because my father has always been a very conservative investor, and, for many years, invested in nothing but municiple bonds, until that market petered out for a period.
    Unfortunately, you can’t sue our govt. unless they (Congress) allows you to. And the current Administration is more concerned in spending anything and everything they can to install a far left agenda of changes, than taking care of, and leading this nation’s citizens.

  5. neo-neocon Says:

    csimon: I remember your story and that of your father, and I am so sorry this happened to you. As I said, I know a couple of victims who were pretty well cleaned out, but fortunately neither of them are 87!

    I also find the SEC’s behavior to have been shocking, essentially ignoring the whistleblower and not even calling for an independent forensic audit.

  6. Nolanimrod Says:

    Bernie Madoff – the Expert Investor. Reminds me of a “town hall meeting” a few years ago during which a participant asked of Bill Clinton, “Why can we invest our own money for retirement?” Bill laughed indulgently and then delivered his punchline: “Because you might not do the right thing with it.”

    Thank God for the people who are selflessly willing to save us dumb schmucks.

  7. Ben-David Says:

    Thank God for the people who are selflessly willing to save us dumb schmucks.
    - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -
    … and yet only a handful of people asked basic questions any investor should have asked – and of those, even fewer did the right thing when faced with Madoff’s evasive replies.

    He had people begging him to take their money.

    Dumb schmucks – dumb, and greedy.

    Yes he is guilty, guilty, guilty.

    But there’s no con without a pigeon.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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