Madoff Victim Loses Millions, Forced to Clean Houses

By Jennifer Millman
|  Monday, Jan 26, 2009  |  Updated 4:18 PM EDT
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Madoff Victim Loses Millions, Forced to Clean Houses

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Bernard Madoff has ruined thousands of lives.

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When New York investment manager Bernie Madoff was charged with one of the largest fraud schemes in financial history, the lives of so many people went up in flames.

Maureen Ebel, from Philadelphia, was one of those people.

The 60-year-old widow thought she had more than $7 million with Madoff, according to Philly.com. She lives outside West Chester in Philly and used to spend the winters near West Palm Beach, but Madoff left her, like many others, out in the cold.

Ebel had to get a job. So six days after Madoff was arrested in the $50 billion Ponzi scheme, she started taking care of a rich friend’s 93-year-old mother and maintaining her house, vacuuming and ironing.

“The first day, I went home and cried,” Ebel said.

Ebel got her first job at age 14, but now a retired nurse, she was looking forward to living comfortably. Then her husband died in 2000 at age 53 – and she still grapples with that painful loss on a regular basis.

"I was married, had a fabulous marriage to a man I loved and worshiped, a physician,” Ebel said. “We traveled. We had a very fine life. And he's dead. He died, and every penny I had in the world has been stolen."

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