Prosecutors are seizing as much as they can of Madoff's personal fortune, and have begun demanding millions of dollars in payments from his relatives. Roughly 6,700 people have filed claims for a share of whatever is recovered. Thousands more — some who lost in excess of $1 million — are expected to come forward.
Court documents filed by Madoff's attorneys have indicated Madoff and his wife had up to $826 million in assets at the end of last year.
If prosecutors get their way, Madoff and his wife, who has not been charged, will have to give up all their assets, including a $7 million Manhattan penthouse bought in 1984, the Florida home, a $1 million home in Cap d' Antibes, France and a $3 million luxury home on New York's Long Island. The government also wants Madoff and his wife to forfeit $10 million in furnishings for all the homes and luxury cars, among other items.
Defense attorneys have indicated they may try to keep the Manhattan apartment, as well as about $62 million in securities, for his wife.
On Wednesday, Madoff's lawyer Ira Sorkin spoke briefly about the government seizing his client's assets.
"We have no objection to the seizure or to the assets being sold," said Sorkin. "The proceeds of the sale will be put aside for discussion at a later date."