Report: Ruth Madoff Lives Frugal, Incognito Life In Florida

Wife Of Notorious Financier Engulfed By 'Shame' Over Scheme

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Disgraced financier Bernard Madoff’s wife has cut off contact and no longer visits him in prison. That’s one of the new details learned Wednesday on Ruth Madoff’s new life in Florida.

It’s a life very different from the Upper East Side luxury she enjoyed for years, reports CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.

She lived in the lap of luxury inside a penthouse just steps from Lexington Avenue, where many who remember Ruth Madoff politely declined to talk on Wednesday.

“Well, I don’t like to see people suffer, but I have no comment,” one woman said.

RELATED: Bernard Madoff Claims Some Banks ‘Had To Know’ About Ponzi Scheme | Madoff: Wilpons, Mets ‘Knew Nothing’ Of Ponzi Scheme | JPMorgan Says It Did Nothing Wrong In Madoff Fraud | Body Of Madoff’s Son Cremated; Wife ‘Devastated’

But sources close to Ruth Madoff have been talking to People magazine, telling the weekly Ruth “is still in some kind of shock.”

Her effort to claim $70 million of her husband’s fortune was rejected.

The Madoff’s Manhattan penthouse and most of their belongings — the home in Palm Beach, Fla., and the yacht docked nearby — everything – were seized and sold.

So friends are lending her a place to stay in Boca Raton, with one telling People: “She lives very frugally. She spends virtually nothing.”

One Upper East Sider Aiello spoke to said, good.

“She’s been living so high on the hog for so long, I don’t feel sorry for her, I can’t,” resident Phyllis Spiegel said.

Ruth Madoff had been visiting her husband in prison regularly — until their son, Mark, committed suicide in December.

Now friends tell People she’s cut off all contact with Bernie and quote her as saying “at night it gets to me — the shame, the disgrace, all the stuff that killed Mark.”

“No matter how bad Bernie did, she’s been vilified,” Upper East Side resident Judith Berdy said, adding when Mark Madoff’s suicide, “Yeah, that’s horrible.”

People is reporting a source close to Ruth Madoff as saying “she’s come to accept she is carrying the burden of shame and disgrace. She knows she is wearing a scarlet letter.”

The magazine reports Ruth Madoff has died her hair red, and often uses her maiden name — Alpern — while trying to keep a low profile in south Florida.

People says she drives a 14-year-old car, and her idea of splurging is to rent a DVD for a dollar from a kiosk at a Publix grocery store.

Do you think Ruth knows more than she’s letting on? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

More from Tony Aiello
  • I have lost

    Ruth knows. I hope she tells all before she goes on to the next life. where it could be burn baby burn.

  • randyp

    I hope they leave her with all the money or give her as much money to suit her lifestyle before the devil she wqs married to went to prison….Not her fault he frauded half the country and gave her a lifestyle that would be tough to have to give up, because her criminal husband.

  • Louise

    The whole sorry story of Madoff and his family is like a Greek tragedy showing the result of hubris.

  • JDOK

    The entire Madoff affair is so interesting and compelling and has affected so many wealthy and famous people isn’t it surprising that hollywood has not made a major motion picture out of the event? Why?

  • TONY

    Ruth losing a child of any age is tragic and my heart goes out too you, Your husband should rot in hell for what he did to everybody that trusted him with their hard earned money! it seems everybody seems to think you knew about it, if you did and you went out spending all that money you too should rot in heal.; But I can also see where you may have been kept in the dark and your world collapsed around you. If you are truly innocent, Trust me things will get better and if your not innocent your getting what you deserve! There’s only one person besides you who knows the truth and only GOD knows your path..P.S. don’t waste your money on dvd’s invest that $1.00 in powerball! you could be a millionare again!

  • Mr. Lovejoy

    Rumor has it that MFX Media offered Ruth good money to star in another version of the legendary 2 Girls 1 Cup. For some reason, she turned it down. So I guess times are not that tough for her.

  • Blake B. Good

    BOO Freakin’ HOO. Cry us some Gypsy tears, Ruth. You’re just as much as a crook as he is. Eventually, justice will come knocking on the door of your little shanty. You aren’t getting away with knowing everything you do, and pretending you don’t.

  • Just me

    The fact that she was still at Bernie’s side until their son’s passing speaks volumes about her.

    While the People magazine article stated that she rents DVD’s for a buck, it also mentions that she flies to NYC to see her grandchildren. On who’s dime is that ?

    Cry me a river !

  • Adrianna

    O well. I dont feel sorry for her. This is why women should always do something that will allow them to have money of their own. Just in case you become separated from your husband or something happens you will be alright.

  • Double-R

    Well, looks like reality has finally hit. There’s no denying it this time. To be honest? I kinda feel bad for her because she;s trying to change things on her own end but on another end, I can’t feel too bad for her because she had to know what was going on. Come on, she slept near the guy day in and day out and you think she didn’t know anything?

    She ain’t as innocent as she looks, ya know what I’m sayin?

    Makes me wonder if she ever considered one of the Wilpons…lol

  • Mimi

    Welcome to the REAL WORLD dear Ruth. I drive a 15 year-old car, and get my DVD’s free from the local library. (That’s a tip for you, girl!). The difference is I’ve had to live frugally all my life. I never had the pampered rich lifestyle you had, so I don’t know what it is to lose it. And, I can live with myself without disgrace and I can sleep at night. Priceless. You will never know this Peace Of Mind and be able to sleep at night unless you tell everything you know – and please do it soon. We know you know more than you’re admitting to. Fess Up.

  • Steven B.

    I think Ruth Madoff knew something but she didn’t want to admit it due to the lifestyle she was living. She is still free and living in Florida but did was she complicit? Who knows?

  • Sal D

    I wonder how the wives of Mr. Madoff’s victims are living! Anyway, good luck Ruth.

  • teetotaler

    She will file for divorce as soon as she finds another rich guy.

  • Steven

    There has been quite a few interesting comments {I love the proof reader guy ‘Died her hair’ people like him get hit by city buses crossing the street}
    Anyway…its amazing that everyone ‘most of you anyway’ have compassion for this poor lady, and that says a lot. Mrs Madoff in my opinion should be able to live her life and deal with the personal demons that accompany her…may she find the peace to live her life and be able to smile one day when the sun rises as it did when she was a teenager

  • Herbie Original Situation Raskin

    I don’t think she knew! She is innocent until proven guilty! If with all the investigations going on , they can not directly connect her to the crime, then I think she’s innocent – and believe me, I am not a nieve person, believe me!!!
    I wouldnt tell my wife – she wouldnt allow me to do that to people especially getting our children involved – no way!!!

  • Juan Pablo

    All she has to do is embrace a Biblical quote of John 3:16, and then she will be Saved; absolved of all her sins, then she will be destined to Heaven.
    Just ask any Biblical Evangelist you happen to know.

  • fabes

    lol. gosh. whats worse. walking around with the last name madoff or hitler?? gee, i tell yea…

  • Gene Poole

    Maybe she can write a book (movie rights??)…. The monies would go to either the victims or her… either way it would help.

  • sandbagged

    The fact that Ruth Madoff isn’t in jail is one of those things that makes me feel like I’m taking crazy pills.

    • Herbie Original Situation Raskin

      prove she was involved or even knew! All the investigations and she’s still free?
      They got nothing because she didnt know!

      Come on… prove that she knew!!!

      • Lisa

        You obviously aren’t married or understand a marraige relationship between 2 people. Of corse she knew you dummy!

      • Ann

        She knew after he got arrested, right? Knew that her entire lifestyle was funded by stolen money…money swindled from charities and retirement funds, no less. Yet she still tried to claim 70 million of it. Not just enough to live on the rest of her life. No, she wanted to continue her lavish lifestyle, to heck with the investors. 70 million less for them is nothing compared to the idea that she can’t live in a mansion or entertain properly.

        And that’s in addition to the few million that she tried to quietly withdraw when the arrest was imminent.

        Innocent? Yeah, about as “innocent” as the settlers who traded beads with the natives.

  • notMadOff

    Oh, that poor little innocent girl!

    Let Congress enact the law that would collect from all of US citizens just a dollar each and give it to that Little Red Riding Hood.

    I know that it would not be too much – just over 300 million dollars – but THAT at least would let her sleep well at night.

  • LIZ

    It is between her and GOD. If she has a conscience then she already lives in HELL. She lost her son and she has to live with the reality of that. She lost her dignity, and I am sure she deals with her own personal demons everyday. What else, should we hang her in a public square? Let it go and let GOD DEAL WITH HER!

  • jane-q

    She was the bookkeeper! How could she not know? Give me a break.

  • jonhnny

    You bunch of insensetive people. Leave her along all this is about rich people trying to become richer and when profits were high and paying, these same people tumb thier nose at the rest of us poor people while drinking fine wine. Here there are no victims, just rich people paying thier dues. Wish our goverment would stop protecting risk enrichments. We all know that investments include risks and yes including oni Scheme. No one is to blame but the fool who placed his money in other peoples hands. BIG FOOLS HAHAHAHA

    • Herbie Original Situation Raskin

      jonhnny jonhnny jonhnny jonhnny woops jonhnny woops jonhnny jonhnny jonhnny jonhnny!

      There are government agencies that have massive annual budgets to protect all types of investors – all types! Those agency directors are the ones who should be in jail and have their belongings confesgated! There will always be Bernie Madoffs trying to steal money from investors – all types of investors, it’s those agencies who are charged with protecting all investors!

      Jonhnny, if you think the “little guys” weren’t hurt you couldn’t be more wrong – Jonhnny!!!

  • John

    She has DIED her hair? RIP. Really, where are your proof-readers?

  • pny

    “People says she drives a 14-year-old car, and her idea of splurging is to rent a DVD for a dollar from a kiosk at a Publix grocery store.”
    What a fine piece of journalism to cite such trusted sources!

  • Briab

    no none deserves to be rich, but everyone deserves a desent life.

  • judy

    She knew he was’t working at Jack in the box

  • michael

    I think its disgusting how you can torment this woman when God will deal justly with her part of any deviousness. Its not for us to lay her open in the public like this and continue to beat her and kick and try to get her to kill herself as her son did. WHo wins with that? Not a single person, only evil itself. Evil gets her and the unforgiving vindictive person likesie splurging their so called monies they have as gift from God..granted, earned in some fashiion but purely because He allows it to be so. I pray for this woman that she discover the love of God for her and repent and turn her will over to His love and the course live unfolds for her.

    • Lucy

      Shut up. Nobody with any sense wants to hear your religious garbage. Ruth Madoff deserves everything she has got coming to her.

  • Chris

    My neighbor who has a dik-for-brain says she does.


  • the bandid

    she has to know, she slept next to the guy for a very long time, i just hope some day she will tell everything she knows.LOL

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