The Shmooze

Ruth Madoff Says Bye Bye, Bernie

By Michael Kaminer

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From the smart-women-foolish-choices department: Ruth Madoff, wife of the world’s most infamous Jewish fraudster, is finally dumping her high school sweetheart after 52 years of marriage to reconcile with her surviving son, the UK Daily Mail reports.

Mrs. Madoff, 70, had been “rejected” by sons Mark and Andrew for refusing to leave Madoff after his $65 billion Ponzi scheme was uncovered in 2008, the Daily Mail says.

But since Mark killed himself in December, Mrs. Madoff has apparently stopped visiting her 73-year-old husband. ‘Ruth has not seen Bernie since Mark’s suicide and I think the remnants of the family will now pull together… Ruth visiting him in prison was a major impediment to her being reconciled with them,” Diana Henriques, author of Bernie Madoff: The Wizard of Lies, told CBS’ Early Show on Monday. Henriques’ book hits on Wednesday.

Henriques — the first reporter to interview Madoff in prison — said Ruth Madoff stayed with her husband because, her friends say, she had so much compassion for the schemer. “She fell in love with him when she was 13, married when she was 18,” Henriques said on the morning show. “It was a 50-year romance, and she simply couldn’t leave him. But for all practical purposes, the Madoff marriage was split apart by that 150-year prison sentence that will keep Madoff behind bars for the rest of his life. So my sense is that Ruth is now focusing all her efforts on rebuilding a relationship with her surviving son, Andrew, and her grandchildren.”

Meantime, Henriques said there may be a bright spot ahead for Bernie Madoff’s victims. Trustee Irving Picard “is on track to potentially return victims up to 50 cents on the dollar of their out-of-pocket losses. Now, obviously, you can’t rebuild the shattered lives. You can’t recover the homes that were sold and the college educations. But in ponzi scheme terms, this is a phenomenal recovery,” Henriques told the Early Show.

Bernie Madoff is serving a 150-year term.


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