On June 5 -- as the government was freezing Madoff's assets, and seizing his properties -- Palm Beach County wrote the Madoffs' a check for $13,800 in overpaid taxes, according to the Palm Beach Post.
The overpayment came from a mistaken assessment of the Madoffs' Palm Beach waterfront mansion, which had originally been valued at $9.4 million last year. But Ruth challenged that figure and the country recalculated the house's value at $8.5 million, bringing the $151,000 tax bill down nearly ten percent, according to the Daily News.
There was one small problem with the rebate that was issued in June however: The check bore both the names of Bernie and Ruth Madoff, and with her husband rotting away in a jail cell it would be impossible to cash.
So last week Ruth Madoff wrote a letter to the county asking that they re-issue the check in her name only.
Ruth, who has said she knew nothing of her spouse's shady dealings, made a deal with the government to give up all but $2.5 million of her fortune, with the rest going to Madoff's victims.
But it was unclear what she would do with this new found money, chump change to her, really.
Ruth Madoff's attorney, Peter Chavkin, told the Palm Beach Post that the money will go "where it is supposed to go" and that Madoff had consulted with lawyers before writing the letter.
Richard Rampell, an expert on Florida tax law, told the paper that if Ruth Madoff simply wanted to give prosecutors the money, she could have signed the check and handed it over -- and let them worry about getting her husband's signature.