Ruth Madoff is Sued for Almost $45 Million

Irving H. Picard, the trustee who is trying to recover money for investors defrauded by Bernard L. Madoff, sued Mrs.

Madoff on Wednesday for $44.8 million. Mr. Picard claimed Mrs. Madoff received tens of millions of dollars from her husband’s investment firm, enabling her to live a “life of splendor.”

Mrs. Madoff’s lawyer, Peter A. Chavkin, said he was baffled by the suit and noted that she had not been implicated in the fraud. The authorities allowed her to keep $2.5 million — a small fraction of the fortune that her husband amassed while orchestrating a vast Ponzi scheme.

Trustee Irving Picard said in a lawsuit filed in Manhattan bankruptcy court that Madoff's wife Ruth "for decades lived a life of splendor" using money that belonged to investors of her husband's investment firm.

The 71-year-old Madoff is serving a 150-year prison sentence after admitting he ran a $64 billion Ponzi scheme.

Ruth Madoff was never charged with any crime.

Picard detailed many of Ruth's expenses over the years, including spending $2.3 million of company funds on a yacht and $1.1 million with the firm's credit card to buy personal items.