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.]