Ruth Madoff: who was Bernie Madoff’s wife, what happened to her, is she in Netflix series, where is she now?

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Ruth met Bernie Madoff in high school, married and went on to have two sons together before Bernie’s arrest in 2008 turned their lives upside down

Madoff: The Monster of Wall Street came to Netflix this week (Wednesday 4 January), and reveals the truth behind Bernie Madoff’s infamous $64 billion-dollar global Ponzi scheme.

That scheme was the largest of its kind in history, and shattered the lives of countless individual investors who had placed their trust in the once revered Wall Street statesman.

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Madoff became one of America’s most prolific fraudsters having cost investors billions of dollars, but despite the scale of his fraudulent activity, he managed to operate under the radar of federal authorities for years, enabling him to continue to rip off his investors.

Madoff’s fraud came to an abrupt end in 2008 when investigators finally caught up with the billionaire. He faced a dramatic fall from grace - the former chairman of the Nasdaq now faced the prospect of spending the rest of his life in a federal prison.

But who was Bernie Madoff’s wife Ruth, and does she feature in the new four-part docuseries? Here is everything you need to know.

Who is Ruth Madoff?

A Madoff New York Mets baseball jacket is displayed during a press preview of a U.S. Marhals Service auction of personal property seized from Bernie and Ruth Madoff in 2009 (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)A Madoff New York Mets baseball jacket is displayed during a press preview of a U.S. Marhals Service auction of personal property seized from Bernie and Ruth Madoff in 2009 (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)
A Madoff New York Mets baseball jacket is displayed during a press preview of a U.S. Marhals Service auction of personal property seized from Bernie and Ruth Madoff in 2009 (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Now the widow of Bernie Madoff, Ruth was born in Queens, New York in 1941. She graduated in 1961 from Queens College with a degree in Psychology, and then from New York University with a Master of Science degree in nutrition in 1992.

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Ruth married Bernie in 1959 at the age of just 18 (though he was only three years older than her). The pair had met in high school, and went on to have two sons, born in 1964 and 1966.

Her involvement with her husband’s finances began when she worked as his bookkeeper, and it was noted in a 2012 Vanity Fair interview that employees at the Madoff’s London office knew that she ran “all the books". She was also a director of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, her husband’s company.

What happened to Ruth Madoff?

Ruth Madoff has never been detained or charged on any counts related to her husband’s fraudulent activities.

But after her husband’s 2008 arrest, Ruth and Bernie attempted suicide on Christmas Eve, later saying in an interview that they were so shaken by the whole ordeal they saw no other way of dealing with it.

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According to a 2009, filing by Bernie , he and his wife were worth up to an estimated £700 million, with assets including £14 million in cash, a portfolio of properties worth £18.5 million, two yachts with a total value of £6.6 million, and a collection of jewellery worth £2.2 million.

While Ruth had nearly £60 million of assets in her name, after her husband was imprisoned, she was stripped of all of her money other than about £2 million after prosecutors reached an agreement while taking and selling off the Madoffs’ other assets.

Irving Picard of BakerHostetler, who was liquidating her husband’s firm, later sued Ruth Madoff for £37.6 million, saying she had lived a "life of splendour" on the gains from the fraud committed by her husband.

The case was eventually settled for much less, given Ruth’s limited assets, and in 2019, Madoff agreed to pay nearly £500,000 and to surrender her remaining assets when she dies. Picard said that the settlement was not evidence she knew of or participated in the fraud.

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Since September 2020, Ruth has resided in a £3.7 million beachfront property in Old Greenwich, Connecticut.

Is Ruth Madoff in Netflix documentary series?

Ruth Madoff does not appear in person in Madoff: The Monster of Wall Street. Instead, the series sees journalists, victims, whistleblowers, investigators, and Madoff’s former employees recount how the money-hungry investor pulled off the biggest Ponzi scheme in history.

Help is on hand for anyone affected by this issue:

- You can call Samaritans for free on 116 123, email them at [email protected], or visit samaritans.org to find your nearest branch.

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