Ruth Madoff's assets may be frozen by Feds

Ruth Madoff made it clear she wants to keep her assets, but Federal investigators may move to freeze her assets within the next week or so, according to the New York Post. Ruth Madoff, wife of Bernard Madoff, hired her own attorney and may be getting ready to face criminal charges.

Federal investigators fear Ruth Madoff may try to leave the country or stash her $93 million of assets in a place that authorities can't touch. The SEC is working with federal prosecutors in Manhattan to prepare a request to freeze her assets as soon as possible. "The U.S. attorneys will be in court in the next week or so to tell a judge that they believe Mrs. Madoff's assets are derived from ill-gotten gains and that they should be frozen for a certain period of time while the investigation is ongoing," according to a statement by the SEC to the Post.

It will be up to the judge to determine if she earned those asset legitimately or if they were proceeds of her husband's $65 billion Ponzi scheme. Ruth Madoff voluntarily agreed to freeze assets shortly after her husband was arrested, but that verbal agreement is not binding and now that her husband has pleaded guilty they want to be sure she doesn't try to hide those assets.

Ruth Madoff appears to have had very little to do with her husband's company. So far the all that is known is that she reconciled the firm's bank accounts. But, she was also caught mailing more than $1 million worth of jewelry and watches shortly after her husband confessed in violation of a court order. Also she withdrew $15.5 million before her husband's arrest on December 11.

Based on a federal court filing last week, Ruth Madoff has $92.6 million in assets in her name. This includes a $7 million Upper East Side penthouse, where her husband spent his time under house arrest until he pleaded guilty and went to jail last week. She also owns an $11 million mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, as well as bonds and cash worth $17 million. An additional $8.8 million worth of yachts and $2.6 million worth of jewelry is listed in her name.

Law enforcement sources told the Post this was just the first step as prosecutors worked furiously to build a criminal case against her. Her attorney, Peter Chavkin decline to comment to the Post.

Lita Epstein has written more than 25 books, including Reading Financial Reports for Dummies.
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