Bernie Madoff is crying, saying he doesn't like being in jail. He wants to be able to go back to his Park Avenue penthouse because that was real punishment. While that's nothing short of outrageous, it turns out his wife has been busy stashing the loot. Should she be allowed to keep it?
Bernie Madoff is an unrepentant swine. He has ruined the lives of thousands. He has bankrupted or crippled businesses, hedge funds and charity organizations. In the first breaks of this story, it was stressed that Bernie acted alone, that his family and employees had no inkling of his massive Ponzi scheme, that it was one of his sons, in fact, that turned him in. As investigators dig deeper into the web of deceit that he wove, however, it's becoming more and more unlikely that his wife and children were not aware or involved.
In the days before his arrest, his wife transferred millions into her personal accounts. The official line is that these are untainted funds, monies that did not come from her husband's swindling. But the only thing she's done is written a cookbook. She has no career. Unless she had a secret money tree in the atrium she had no other source of income than her finagling spouse. So why should she be allowed to keep it?
Investigators are asking those same questions now. As Bernie bitches and moans to be set free from the punishment he so richly (pun intended) deserves the search for recoverable funds continues. So far only a fraction - approximately $100 million - of the $68 billion Bernie stole has been found. Ruth faces the fight of her life to keep the $46 million or so she's got stashed away, money that she has no right to keep. There are people who have lost everything, that are facing poverty, because of what Bernie did. The Madoffs should be forced to sell everything they own to repay those trusting investors. Sadly, though, it might take a miracle to make that happen.
See, it's true: rich people do face different laws, different judgments. If Bernie is allowed to be freed on appeal, what would make him not flee? He's certain to die in a cage; that's powerful incentive to go on the run, most likely taking faithful wife Ruth and her $46 million with them. I hope the courts are able to seize those funds before they make them disappear again. And I hope Bernie makes an extra special shower buddy while he's waiting for his attorneys to spring him from the hoosegow.