Ruth Madoff apparently will not be charged in the massive $65 billion Ponzi scheme to which her husband Bernie pleaded guilty one year ago, but she's already been tried and condemned in the court of public opinion. Almost as soon as her husband (and high school sweetheart)'s crimes were discovered, Ruth Madoff emerged as one of the most hated women in New York, if not America a well-coiffed beneficiary of her husband's ill-gotten gains."She's perceived as the succubus to Bernie's incubus," Professor Richard A. Shweder, a cultural anthropologist at the University of Chicago, told the New York Times in June 2009. "She was inside a circle of people whose wealth has been sucked out of the system."
After silently enduring a series of public shamings she was banned from her swank Upper East Side hair salon, dropped by her florist and stripped of $80 million in assets Madoff finally issued a statement in June 2009. "I am breaking my silence now because my reluctance to speak has been interpreted as indifference or lack of sympathy for the victims of my husband Bernie's crime, which is exactly the opposite of the truth," she said. "I am embarrassed and ashamed. Like everyone else, I feel betrayed and confused. The man who committed this horrible fraud is not the man whom I have known for all these years."
In July 2009 Ruth Madoff was sued for $44.8 million by Irving Picard, the trustee recovering assets for her husband's victims, who charged that she had capitalized on her husband's fraud to lead a "life of splendor." The following month she agreed to report purchases over $100 to Picard. Since then Madoff has largely faded from the spotlight.