March 17, 2009— -- Admitted $50 billion fraudster Bernie Madoff lent his sons, Andrew and Mark, over $30 million since 2004 and the government wants the money to go into the fund to repay Madoff's investors, according to a court filing Tuesday. Prosecutors also want to seize Ruth Madoff's jewelry collection, valued at over $2.6 million.
Madoff pled guilty to 11 felony counts Thursday including securities fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, and perjury. He faces a 150 year sentence. But the investigation into his possible accomplices in the massive fraud continues and investigators have not ruled out either son, both of whom were senior employees at their father's investment firm, nor his wife Ruth, Bernie's closest confidante.
Madoff was arrested in December after telling the FBI he had acted alone in running the Ponzi-like scheme. Madoff still insists he acted alone and that once he confessed to his sons, they turned him in. Investigators in the case, however, believe Madoff set up the sequence of the events to give his sons deniability.
Now prosecutors have made it even more apparent that the sons are not off limits. In Tuesday's filing they list seven promissory notes issued to the sons since 2004 from their parents totaling over $30 million that they intend to seize.
The filing also lists more of Ruth's assets. Just yesterday, the government filed an intent to seize four of the couple's homes, four cars including a BMW and two Mercedes, Ruth's Steinway piano (valued at $39,000), and a silverware set (valued at $65,000). Now they have added to their laundry list Ruth's $2.6 million jewelry collection as well as 35 sets of watches and cufflinks owned by her husband.
Ruth may be trying to find a way to keep the couple's $9 million Palm Beach mansion. She reportedly has applied for and received a homestead exemption for the house. Florida law protects a person's primary residence from seizure by creditors. The exemption could make it harder for the government to seize the property.
What's Next for Madoff
Meanwhile, a hearing is set for Thursday as Madoff's attorney, Ira Lee Sorkin, seeks to appeal the decision to keep Madoff behind bars until his sentencing which is scheduled for June 16.
Court filings last week put the Madoffs' personal worth at $823 million. Investigators have recovered about $950 million in cash and securities from the company. Prosecutors estimate Madoff's scam could have cost his investors anywhere from $50 to $65 billion.
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