The trustee overseeing the liquidation of Bernard Madoff’s assets sued the disgraced money manager’s wife on Thurday, asking for nearly $45 million that he says was spent on “a life of splendor.”
Trustee Irving H Picard spelled out his claims in a lawsuit against Ruth Madoff in US Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan. Ruth Madoff several weeks ago moved out of a $7 million Manhattan penthouse where she and her husband had lived during their 49-year marriage.
Ruth Madoff’s lawyer, Peter Chavkin, said in a statement that Picard’s action was “wrong as a matter of law and fairness.”
He said the lawsuit was “particularly perplexing and totally unjustified” because his client has already forfeited to the federal prosecutor’s office nearly all of the assets described in the lawsuit.
“At the same time, after a thorough and comprehensive investigation, the US Attorney’s office determined that Ruth Madoff was entitled to keep property of $2.5 million because that property could not be linked to the fraud,” Chavkin said.
Although the US government agreed not to contest Ruth Madoff’s claim to $2.5 million, the agreement did not protect her from lawsuits to recover additional money by Picard or investors.
Picard said Ruth Madoff for decades lived “a life of splendor” using money that belonged to customers of her husband’s investment firm.