After her husband was sentenced to 150 years in prison for running a $65 billion Ponzi scheme, Ruth Madoff issued a statement. It begins, "I am breaking my silence now, because my reluctance to speak has been interpreted as indifference or lack of sympathy for the victims of my husband Bernie’s crime, which is exactly the opposite of the truth... I am embarrassed and ashamed. Like everyone else, I feel betrayed and confused." Her full statement is after the jump; earlier, Bernard Madoff told the court that she cries herself to sleep every night.
Last week, Bernard and Ruth Madoff agreed to a deal where they give up pretty much all their assets, including three homes in Manhattan, Palm Beach and Montauk, leaving Ruth Madoff with just $2.5 million. The Post reports that the disgraced financier's wife has been looking for a rental apartment, but prospective landlords don't want such an infamous tenant: A broker said, "She has nowhere to go. No one wants someone with her name in their building. People like their privacy."
The Wall Street Journal took a stab at guessing how far the $2.5 million will go: "When you cast aside the sort of smoke and mirrors used by her husband, a conservative investment portfolio may only earn about 3% a year over inflation. At that rate, and if Mrs. Madoff wants to make sure she doesn't outlive her money, her $2.5 million settlement should give her an annual income of maybe $125,000 a year. That would make the money last all the way to age 100." The Journal adds, "If Ruth Madoff spends a third of her $125,000 a year on accommodation, that will come to about $3,500 a month -- enough perhaps for a (modest) two bedroom in Manhattan, but nothing glamorous. It will rent more in Florida."
I am breaking my silence now, because my reluctance to speak has been interpreted as indifference or lack of sympathy for the victims of my husband Bernie’s crime, which is exactly the opposite of the truth.
From the moment I learned from my husband that he had committed an enormous fraud, I have had two thoughts - first, that so many people who trusted him would be ruined financially and emotionally, and second, that my life with the man I have known for over 50 years was over. Many of my husband’s investors were my close friends and family. And in the days since December, I have read, with immense pain, the wrenching stories of people whose life savings have evaporated because of his crime.
My husband was the one we (and I include myself) respected and trusted with our lives and our livelihoods, often for many, many years, and who was respected in the securities industry as well. Then there is the other man who stunned us all with his confession and is responsible for this terrible situation in which so many now find themselves. Lives have been upended and futures have been taken away. All those touched by this fraud feel betrayed; disbelieving the nightmare they woke to. I am embarrassed and ashamed. Like everyone else, I feel betrayed and confused. The man who committed this horrible fraud is not the man whom I have known for all these years.
In the end, to say that I feel devastated for the many whom my husband has destroyed is truly inadequate. Nothing I can say seems sufficient regarding the daily suffering that all those innocent people are enduring because of my husband. But if it matters to them at all, please know that not a day goes by when I don’t ache over the stories that I have heard and read.