Was Ruth The Top Madoff Bookkeeper?

Investigators have been dropping hints in the media that Ruth Madoff may be more than the know-nothing wife she’s been made out to be. Now The Daily Beast is reporting that investigators now believe she played a “larger role” in the fraud than initially presumed.

While she has not been charged with any wrongdoing, authorities now believe Ruth Madoff, his wife of almost half a century, played a larger role than previously thought. Until now, the assumption has been—as Madoff himself told FBI agents—that his investment advisory business was separate from other, legitimate Madoff businesses; it was housed on a different floor and operated, he has said, without knowledge of others in his family.

But investigators have now discovered, according to a person close to the case, that the funds from the advisory business were in fact comingled with Madoff’s personal funds and with a market-making fund in which he as a broker-dealer executed orders for customers. It was Ruth Madoff who oversaw the books on all three of these accounts, and it was the comingling of money from them—contrary to regulations that require such accounts to be kept separate—that enabled the elaborate shell game. It also meant that some investors’ money was not invested for their own benefit but went into Madoff’s personal assets.

The other big scoop in the piece is that according to their sources, Madoff has now admitted what we’ve been suspecting for a long time, that the fraud dates back at least 40 years. There’s been plenty of evidence on this, including the dubious circumstances of his start, the knocks against his mother, and the Avellino & Bienese connection — but it still boggles the mind that it could have gone on this long.

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