By Denis Campbell
No take out the media trash this Friday. Bernie Madoof knows how much it will cost and now wonders how big a book will be thrown at him Monday. Those swindled by the confessed Ponzi Scheme creator got some measure of revenge or half their pound of flesh yesterday when US District judge Denny Chin ordered Bernie and wife Ruth to forfeit $170 billion dollars, the total amount the Justice Department says was lost from all claimants.
They’ll get the rest of the flesh on Monday when it is expected that Bernie will be sentenced to prison for the rest of his life. Many expect he will be made an example of and sent to one of the USA’s SuperMax prisons to spend the rest of his life locked down 23 hours a day. Somehow it seems improbable if not impossible that he acted alone yet he alone has taken the complete fall and investors think everyone but the lifelong accountant who has also been charged will be the only ones doing time.
The judge’s ruling included all property including: real estate (mansions in Palm Beach, Long Island, NY and the imfamous Penthouse in Manhattan, investment accounts, cars and boats. Ruth Madoff wanted some $60-80 million dollars set aside as hers, unrelated to and supposedly separate from the Ponzi scheme. She settled for $2.5 million and was photographed riding the New York City subway instead of her preferred limousines and private cars.
Ruth will need to find another home to live in and many investors consider her an unindicted co-conspirator. So she will likely find herself battling lawsuits the rest of her life and several hoped in interviews Friday that that eats up her leftovers in legal fees. Ruth did not endear herself to investors by withdrawing $15.5 million in cash before the bombshell hit and wanting to keep her money.
And the government was quick to point out this does not preclude other legal actions filed by those wronged. So it is far from over. It will take years to unravel the scheme and investors will be lucky to get .05 on every dollar when done.
So Monday is small comfort to those who lost everything trusting this polished ‘charmer’ in his scheme. As, Yogi Berra, another famous New Yorker once said, “it ain’t over ‘til it’s over.” Stay tuned, there are a number of terriers gnawing on Ruth and Bernie’s leg.