Thursday, July 30, 2009

Madoff's wife sued for $65m

NEW YORK - THE US government-appointed trustee tracking down Wall Street fraudster Bernard Madoff's missing billions filed a US$45 million (S$65 million) law suit on Wednesday against Madoff's wife.

The suit filed in New York seeks US$44,822,355 that the trustee, Mr Irving Picard, says Mrs Ruth Madoff received directly or indirectly over the last six years as a result of Bernard L Madoff Investment Securities' fraudulent dealings.

'For decades, Mrs Madoff lived a life of splendor using the money of BLMIS's customers,' he says in the suit.

'Regardless of whether or not Mrs Madoff knew of the fraud her husband perpetrated' those funds should be retrieved 'for the benefit of BLMIS and its defrauded customers.'

Madoff, a former pillar of the Wall Street community and the trusted investment advisor of wealthy clients, was sentenced to 150 years in prison last month.

He pleaded guilty to running a multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme in which he stole investors' money to pay phony returns to other investors.

At sentencing, Madoff agreed to forfeit all assets. His wife was left US$2.5 million. However, that forfeiture allows Mr Picard to continue to seek funds for victims.

In the suit, Mr Picard says that 'while Madoff's crimes have left many investors impoverished and some charities decimated, Mrs Madoff remains a person of substantial means.

'The inequity between Mrs Madoff's continuing financial advantages and the economic distress of Madoff's customers compels the Trustee to bring this action.'

Mr Picard argues that the US$45 million were transferred from Madoff's company to his wife or for her benefit to companies in which she had a stake. -- AFP

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