Bernard Madoff's wife, Ruth, has nearly $70 million in assets - including $62 million in cash and bonds that are her property and not part of any alleged fraud he may have run on thousands of investors, according to Madoff's attorneys.
Ruth Madoff's hefty cash reserves were disclosed Monday in a special filing in Manhattan federal court in connection with a Securities and Exchange Commission civil suit filed against her husband in December.
Madoff's attorneys are taking the position that Ruth Madoff is the sole owner of $45 million in municipal bonds, $17 million in cash in an account at Wachovia Bank, and the $7 million Manhattan apartment in Manhattan where her husband is currently staying under house arrest.
They are taking the position that the assets can't be seized by the government if Bernard Madoff is convicted of a crime unless they are shown to be the fruits of a crime. The order suggests that prosecutors and defense attorneys may be getting closer to a plea bargain of the case against Madoff, who is accused of running a $50-billion Ponzi scheme.
Monday, Manhattan federal Judge Louis Stanton's order essentially allowed the government to restrain Ruth Madoff's assets from sale or transfer, but acknowledged that they can't be seized unless prosecutors link them to crimes.
A source familiar with the investigation said some of the assets were acquired by Ruth Madoff as far back as 1984. Ira Sorkin, Madoff's defense attorney, declined to comment on the order except to say the defense consented to its terms.
Madoff was arrested Dec. 11, and is under house arrest on a $10 million bond secured in part by the Upper East Side apartment.