Wife Of Notorious Financier Engulfed By 'Shame' Over SchemeBy Tony Aiello

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.

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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.

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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.

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“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.

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

Tony Aiello