July 3, 2009 in Business

Madoff’s Manhattan penthouse taken over

Wife leaves home’s contents
Associated Press
 
FILE Associated Press photo

Ruth Madoff was forced to move from a Manhattan penthouse when authorities seized the property. They plan to sell it.
(Full-size photo)

NEW YORK – Federal marshals took possession of disgraced financier Bernard Madoff’s $7 million Manhattan penthouse on Thursday in a move that forced his wife to move elsewhere.

Proceeds from a sale of the property and its contents could be used to help reimburse those who lost billions of dollars investing with Madoff before he confessed to running a Ponzi scheme.

U.S. Marshal Joseph Guccione said the marshals arrived at noon with a court order permitting them to take custody of the apartment and to make anyone living there move out.

Guccione said Madoff’s wife, Ruth, had been advised in advance of the marshals’ plans and was leaving the residence and surrendering all personal property.

“Restitution for the victims is the government’s top priority,” he said.

Typically, the U.S. Marshals Service changes all locks and secures a property when it seizes a location.

By about 1 p.m., 67-year-old Ruth Madoff had left. It was not immediately clear where she went to live.

“Ruth moved out voluntarily pursuant to the prior agreements we reached with the government,” said her lawyer, Peter Chavkin.

The 71-year-old Madoff was sentenced Monday to 150 years in prison. He pleaded guilty in March to charges that his investment advisory business was a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme.

Last week, Ruth Madoff agreed to give up all of her possessions in return for a promise that federal prosecutors would not pursue $2.5 million not tied to the fraud. The money, though, is not protected from civil legal actions that might be pursued by a court-appointed trustee liquidating Madoff’s assets or by investor lawsuits.

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