Feds Move to Seize Ruth Madoff's Money

By Xana O'Neill
|  Monday, Mar 16, 2009  |  Updated 2:26 PM CDT
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Bernard Madoff & His Victims

With Bernie Madoff in prison, attention will turn to his wife, Ruth. Prosecutors are seeking to recover her assets.

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Federal prosecutors are demanding that the wife of confessed swindler Bernie Madoff fork over more than $100 million assets --  everything from lavish estates to her finest silverware.

The feds are eyeing $22 million in Madoffs' properties -- including the $7 million Upper East Side penthouse the fallen financier recently called home -- and are honing in on houses in Long Island, Palm Beach, Fla., and France, court documents filed today revealed.

Prosecutors are also seeking a $17 million bank account and at least $45 million in securities, Reuters reported.

Madoff, 70, pleaded guilty to 11 charges in a Manhattan courtroom last week after he confessed to bilking investors out of $64 billion in a Ponzi scheme.

The feds filed a "notice of intent to seek forfeiture" of three boats worth $10 million, $65,000 in silverware, a Steinway $39,000 piano and four cars, according to court records filed today.

Lawyers for the fallen financier planned to argued in early March that Ruth Madoff should be allowed to keep $69 million in property and accounts that were unrelated to the scheme, Reuters reported.

The estimated net worth of both Bernie Madoff and his wife is between $823 million and $826 million, the New York Post reported.

The now-jailed Bernie Madoff was denied bail and has been holed up in a cell at the Metropolitan Correction Center in Manhattan during his Thursday court appearance.

Peter Chavkin, a lawyer for Mrs. Madoff, declined to comment. Madoff's lawyers had indicated earlier that they planned to claim Ruth Madoff was entitled to keep as much as $69 million in assets.

They said the assets were not part of Madoff's fraud and that they were in her name.

While confessing his guilt, Madoff sought to protect his family, saying "the other businesses were legitimate, profitable ...in all respects and those businesses were run by my brother and my sons."

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