A number of legal and financial experts have said that Bernie Madoff could not possibly have run his potentially $50 billion Ponzi scheme alone, but we have to admit, we didn’t really want to believe that. It was one thing to think that it was one lone psycho that was out there, pumping hands and smiling and robbing old people of their retirement funds and charities of their endowments, just, like, one completely and totally aberrant, possibly syphilis-riddled mind, but the idea that it might have been two (or more?) people in on this raises it to a level of sinister that makes us nauseated. A guy killed himself over this, and why? So some old people could cavort around on a yacht? But the news yesterday that Ruth Madoff withdrew $5 million from a brokerage firm co-owned by her husband two weeks before he confessed his financial empire was all a “giant Ponzi scheme” and then withdrew $10 million the day before he turned himself in to authorities is forcing everyone to confront that ugly possibility. Which is, of course, still only a possibility, because Madoff hasn’t been charged with anything. This could all be a misunderstanding! So let’s consider both scenarios fully, shall we?
A. She Was In On It
• She took out $15 million in order pay for her husband’s bail, security, and expenses during his “penthouse arrest” since she knew that his funds would all be frozen.
B. She Wasn’t In On It
• She took out $15 million just ‘cause she needed some pocket money.
• OR she took out $15 million because Bernie told her to, but she didn’t ask her husband of 50 years a single question as to why, and therefore is totally innocent.
“If she didn’t know what her husband was up to … and didn’t ask any questions, it simply makes her civilly liable and the money recoverable,” lawyer Michael Shapiro, whose firm represents several Madoff victims, tells the Post.
Gee, we’re really torn on this. Which could it be?