Feds Boot Ruth, Change Locks on Madoff Penthouse

U.S. Marshals carry out court-ordered forfeiture

U.S. Marshals have taken control of Bernard and Ruth Madoff's Upper East Side apartment, forcing Ruth from the one of the last vestiges of a dream life that is now a living nightmare.

Mrs. Madoff has been ordered to leave the $7 million penthouse apartment at 133 East 64th Street, per the court-approved agreement reached last Friday. Ruth Madoff left the apartment today with just a straw bag and the clothes on her back. 

Ruth was ordered to hand over "any and all jewelry," one three-quarter length Russian sable coat, one sheared mink coat,  and all "apparel, accessories, footwear, leather goods and luggage," according to the court-ordered forfeiture. 

Marshals will be changing the locks, but they do not plan to remove any items today. The feds made the move as it was reported that a Securities and Exchange Commission staffer red-flagged Madoff's shady trading in 2004, but was called-off the trail by her supervisors, including one who eventually married Madoff's niece.

Under a $171 billion forfeiture order handed up last Friday, Madoff -- who was sentenced to 150 years in prison for his $65 billion Ponzi scheme Monday. -- was stripped of all his possessions, including his interest in all property, including real estate, investments, cars and boats.

The agreements strip the Madoffs of all their interest in properties belonging to them, including homes in Manhattan, Montauk, N.Y., and Palm Beach, Fla., worth a total of nearly $22 million. The Madoffs must also forfeit all insured or salable personal property contained in the homes including "furniture, art, musical instruments, silverware and plates, chinaware, glassware,  bedding, linens, decorative objects, electronics and appliances."

In other words, everything.

Other seized assets include accounts at Cohmad Securities Corp., valued at almost $50 million, and at Wachovia Bank, valued at just over $13 million, and tens of millions of dollars in loans extended by Madoff to family, employees and friends.

The judge's order also authorized the U.S. Marshals Service to sell the Manhattan co-op, properties in Montauk and Palm Beach and certain cars and boats.

Under the forfeiture, the government also obtained Ruth Madoff's interest in all property, including more than $80 million-worth that she had claimed was hers, prosecutors said.

The order left her $2.5 million in assets that feds could not link back to the Ponzi scheme.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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