Ruth Madoff agrees to give up co-op, house

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Ruth Madoff agreed Friday to give up her Manhattan penthouse apartment and Montauk home as well as pricey jewelry and other items to help settle a government claim against her husband's Ponzi scheme, court records show.

In an order signed Friday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Judge Denny Chin ordered Bernard Madoff to forfeit $170 billion in assets, the amount prosecutors said he took from people over the years, to pay back investors of his giant Ponzi scheme.

In return for settling with the government, Ruth Madoff will get $2.5 million.

She must surrender more than $2 million in jewelry as well as the Manhattan penthouse and the home in Montauk.

In court papers filed late Friday, attorneys for the Madoffs and the government acknowledged that prosecutors might not be able to show that the proceeds of the Madoff Ponzi scheme were used to purchase the real estate.

Federal prosecutors are also asking for one 150-year prison term for Bernard Madoff, according to court records. The prosecutors asked the court to impose that term or a "term of years that both would assure that Madoff would remain in prison for life and forcefully would promote general deterrence."

The documents show that Bernard and Ruth Madoff have agreed with prosecutors to allow federal marshals to sell the couple's interest in the properties.

Federal prosecutors had said in March that they wanted to confiscate the Madoff properties, in their effort to partly pay back victims of Wall Street's largest Ponzi scheme.

Ira Sorkin, who represents Bernard Madoff, and Peter Chavkin, who represents Ruth Madoff, declined to comment Friday.

Among the items to be sold are the $7-million penthouse at 133 E. 64th St., which is in Ruth Madoff's name, her $39,000 Steinway piano and $65,000 silverware set.

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Also covered are the couple's $3-million home at 216 Montauk Hwy. A $10-million Palm Beach mansion already has been seized by the government.

They also will give up three boats seized by marshals in March, three cars and funds in a Bank of America account.

Ruth Madoff also will surrender claims to $17 million in a Wachovia Bank account and $45 million in municipal bonds held at Cohmad Securities Corp.

Both Madoff, 71, and his wife agreed to have the properties "sold to preserve" their value "pending a final adjudication on the merits."

Bernard Madoff, who pleaded guilty to a Ponzi scheme investigators now say ranges from $13 billion to $21 billion, faces 150 years in prison when Chin sentences him Monday. Madoff's attorney has asked Chin to consider a 12-year sentence, given his client's age.

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