frankkennedyimageIt’s helpful to learn, in these difficult financial times, the problems we share with the very wealthy, who have to experience getting along on considerably less income. Ruth Madoff is one of those persons, the celebrity wife of an epic swindler, Bernard Madoff, a financial adviser who was found guilty of purloining $170 billion in a gigantic Ponzi scheme. Her husband’s estimated annual income was $75 million. Bernard was recently sentenced to 150 years in prison.

Ruth was refused by the court in an attempt to keep $70 million, which she claimed was her own, including $45 million she held in bonds and $17 million in her bank account. But she was allowed in a compromise agreement by the U.S. attorney’s office to keep $2.5 million. (Under this agreement, Ruth could still be subject to civil actions.)

Ruth claimed the $70 million was not connected to the fraud. Interestingly, she insisted she had no knowledge of her husband’s business activities, yet just weeks before her husband’s arrest on Dec. 11 of last year, she withdrew $15.5 million. There was a lot of scrambling around prior to Bernard’s incarceration, getting ready to send out $173 million (US) in signed cheques to relatives and friends.

Ruth is alleged to be involved in the swindle by a long-time Madoff employee, who said: “He (Bernard) conferred with her on everything. The idea that she didn’t know anything is laughable.” She was married to Bernie for 50 years and had a close relationship with him. In her June 29 public statement, Ruth put on the robe of a fellow victim and it didn’t wear very well. How could she have said, “And in the days since December (when her husband confessed his guilt), I have read with immense pain the wrenching stories of people whose life savings have evaporated because of his crime.”

What is Ruth talking about? She ended up with $2.5 million. It’s a bit of a comedown from the $70 million she sought, but it’s better than most people got and she has it now. Bernard’s lawyer had asked the U.S. government to allow his client’s wife to keep almost $70 million in assets in her name. It looks like she was in partnership with him. If you think Ruth is a victim, you probably think the Easter Bunny is for real. She looks more like a co-conspirator. Her lawyer has tried to make her look like a wronged woman. Where do you think her money came from?

We’re not talking nickels and dimes or Ruth’s mink coats. A Reuters write-up said properties to be sold include the couple’s $7 million Manhattan principal residence, a three-story penthouse, an $11 million house in Palm Springs, Fl. and a $3-million house on Long Island. The Florida property and several vessels have already been seized by the U.S. Marshall’s Service.

The good news for investors is that Madoff has admitted to fraud, so they could get (some of) their money back as compensation from the U.S. Taxpayer Financial Fraud Protection Scheme. The taxpayers would be hit, though. Police say Ponzi schemes are still going on all over Canada and the U.S. Such schemes occur when investors are paid interest on their investments with new investors’ money, which is attracted by the possibility of obtaining unbelievably high rates of returns.

The good news for pro-lifers is that Planned Parenthood lost $1 billion in the Madoff investment scandal. Madoff further hurt the abortion business in Texas when the pro-abortion Picover Foundation was closed because of its “investments” with him. Picover had also supported PP, NARAL Pro-Choice America and the Centre for Reproductive Rights. Perhaps because of this disgraceful situation, a few lucky unborn children are alive today.

Closer to home, various Canadian investors lost $40 million in the Madoff scam. The lesson to be learned, folks, is that if something is too good to be true – it probably isn’t.