New Madoff Book About Family Angers Victims of Ponzi Scheme

PHOTO: Catherine Hooper, founder of Black Umbrella, is seen in this undated file photo.
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Andrew and Ruth Madoff, the wife and son of convicted Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff, will not receive any money from a new book about the Madoff family in which they participated. But Catherine Hooper, the woman who's been engaged to Andrew and living with him for the past three years, will profit from the project, which angers some of the victims of Bernie Madoff's multi-billion-dollar investment fraud.

"I personally do not feel that any profits from the new book should in any way go to Ms. Hooper, who is future Madoff family, or should any other member of the Madoff family benefit from this crime," Lynn Sustak, whose retirement savings were wiped out due to Madoff, told ABC News. Currently working in the retail industry, Sustak, 62, and her husband invested with Bernie Madoff starting in 2003.

"All Madoff money should be donated to the real victims -- of course," another victim, Marcia Cohen, wrote in an email to ABC News.

Alexis Neely, the founder of the Family Wealth Planning Institute, told ABC News it was "smart" for Hooper to receive profits and not Andrew or Ruth Madoff. Andrew Madoff faces a multimillion-dollar lawsuit from the trustee appointed to recover money for victims of the investment fraud.

"It would be a pretty bad idea for her to marry him at this point," said Neely.

"If it wasn't intentional it was a happy accident," added Neely. "But I would imagine it was intentional. It's definitely asset protection I would advise my clients to put in place in a similar situation."

Hooper, reportedly the driving force behind the book within the Madoff camp, is the only person associated with the Madoffs who will receive profits from "Truth and Consequences: Life Inside the Madoff Family," written by journalist and author Laurie Sandell and based on interviews with Andrew and Ruth.

Hooper moved in with Andrew and became engaged to him just weeks before December 10, 2008, when Bernie confessed what he'd done to sons Andrew and Mark and they turned him in to the FBI.

After witnessing the backlash against Andrew and Mark, Hooper allegedly conceived the idea for the book. Mark Madoff committed suicide on Dec. 10, 2010, the second anniversary of the collapse of the fraud.

Hooper, who met Sandell in the summer of 2009 at one of the writer's book readings in the summer of 2009, first wanted to write a book about emergency preparedness related to her company, Black Umbrella. Hooper is president of the high-end disaster management company based in New York City, which sells emergency preparedness packages range from $750 to $2,000, and her fiance is director of operations.

But Sandell writes in the preface of her new book that "it quickly became clear that [Hooper] was not going to be able to move on with her life and focus on her passion until she'd addressed the elephant in the room: the Madoff story."

"Andrew, who'd been muzzled by his lawyers since the day of the confession, desperately wanted to tell his story," Sandell writes. "Catherine was prepared to support him, as she had all along." Andrew, Mark and Ruth have always maintained their innocence, and said they were unaware of any fraud, even though both Mark and Andrew worked as traders for their father's firm.

On Sunday, Hooper, her fiance and his mother, Ruth Madoff, appeared on CBS's "60 Minutes" to promote the book. Hooper and the book's publisher, Little, Brown & Company, did not return a request for comment.

While Bernard Madoff is serving a maximum sentence of 150 years in a federal prison in North Carolina, a number of Madoff family members are being sued by a court-appointed trustee liquidating Madoff's business. The suit, filed in October 2009, seeks at least $198.7 million from Madoff's brother, sons, and niece. Andrew Madoff is named in the suit for allegedly having over $60 million in fraudulent transfers from Bernard L. Madoff Investment Services.

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