November 17, 2011

Ruth Madoff

More articles for »
Written for: Communicado Magazine
Tags: , , , , ,

The Details:

Ruth Madoff is the wife of Bernard Madoff. Mr. Madoff is of course in jail for creating the largest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history. The Madoff’s lived as a wealthy couple on New York’s Upper East Side until Bernard was convicted of defrauding hundreds of clients through his investment firm.

The Madoff’s were married on November 28, 1959. Ruth Madoff was a 19-year-old college student. She graduated from Queens College and immediately went to work on Wall Street. The Madoff’s thereafter had two sons: Mark, born in 1964 and Andrew, born in 1966. After the birth of their two sons, Ruth Madoff went to work for her husband in his firm – Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, LLC . She also founded the Madoff Charitable Foundation.

In a 60 Minutes interview, Ruth Madoff confessed to attempting to commit suicide with her husband as a suicide pact after his crime was exposed. Other facts revealed during this interview were that she asked her son Andrew to co-sign for his father’s bail because she just wanted him to come home; She felt sorry for Bernie; She had loved him for such a long time that she couldn’t abandon him and that he was the only man she had ever loved. When asked if she was at all angry, she said – after 3 years – she was beginning to feel some anger.

The Facts:

Between 1960 and 2008, the Madoff’s amassed a fortune estimated at $126 million personally and approximately $700 million in business interests. It is estimated that client losses were approximately $18 billion.

On December 10, 2008, Mark and Andrew Madoff told authorities their father had confessed to creating a Ponzi scheme and Bernard Madoff was arrested by the FBI the next day. On March 12, 2009, Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 federal felonies; On June 29, 2009, he was sentenced to the maximum allowable sentence – 150 years in prison.

On December 10, 2010, two years to the day, the Madoff’s oldest son, Mark, committed suicide by hanging.

After his conviction, the government seized most of the Madoff’s assets, estimated to total approximately $115 million. Ruth has since lived with her sister in Florida and now resides in one of her son Andrew’s homes in Connecticut.

The Brain-override:

Andrew Madoff gets the gold for the brain-override. When asked what he’d like to say to his father, who will undoubtedly watch this interview, he said, “I have nothing to say to him.” Ruth Madoff gets a big fat F. What’s wrong with Ruth Madoff? Let’s see…

Her husband created a false business that created the tools to live a fabricated lifestyle on the backs of people who trusted him. That’s bad enough…

But, even if there is a way to get past being a bad boy on the playground, there is one thing that should have convinced her… He first born killed himself over it. There is no way around that…

My thought is that’s why Andrew can be so resolute in his position – he lost his brother because his father chose to be a liar and a criminal. One only need review the facts to know the right decision and the brain can help with that. But, I need to go back to Ruth…

Over the course of this interview, Ruth Madoff came across as a grieving wife who was distraught over losing her beloved husband. While she expressed her displeasure with what he had done, the sense that she wanted to defend her husband and still wanted to be there for him was ever present. Ruth Madoff is clearly still suffering through her heart-decision.

Her heart keeps reminding her that Bernie is still the man she fell in love with in 1958. It’s 2011 Ruth and he really did commit an involved, willing crime. He may be the same person, but, he did a really bad thing and actions have consequences. Unfortunately, one of the consequences of his actions is that you lost a son. Harsh, but, true…

I’d like to believe she’d be able to do a heart-override for her son. Women often have to make a choice between the man they love and their children. Most women say to me, there is no choice, but, apparently for Ruth, there is/was…

And to be fair, maybe there isn’t. The 60 Minutes interview also revealed that Ruth did this interview because Andrew insisted. She didn’t want to do it. He had apparently distanced himself from her as well and she wanted to re-establish their relationship.

This is where I begin to feel for her. She has to be thinking to herself: “I’ve lost my husband, I’ve lost my first born and now my youngest son wants nothing to do with me because of my husband.” Ruth used her brain – Andrew is all she has left…

So maybe there is hope for Ruth. I think she really does want to continue to love Bernie, but, is slowly… slowly realizing that her heart has to chose between her kids and her husband. If she were using her brain to begin with, she wouldn’t have been struggling, now would she?