June 26, 2009 -- Ruth Madoff, the wife of convicted Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff, will lose the couple's $7 million Manhattan penthouse, according to a stipulation agreed to by the government and Madoff's defense attorneys. The couple's other homes in Palm Beach and the Hamptons are also set to be sold by U.S. Marshals.
Meanwhile, the government late Friday submitted its sentencing request, asking Judge Denny Chin to sentence Madoff to 150 years in prison – a term that is the equivalent to consecutive maximum sentences on all the counts of his indictment.
Alternatively, the government said in its twenty two page filing, he should serve a prison sentence that both would assure he would "remain in prison for life, and forcefully promote general deterrence."
"Madoff's crimes were serious and long-running, complex, and highly orchestrated and devastating to generations of investors around the country and abroad," states the filing.
Prosecutors estimated that the amount of money that flowed through the principal account used by Madoff to perpetrate the Ponzi scheme was approximately $170 billion, but many of his victims are now penniless.
"We now have nothing," said Kathleen Bignell, whose statement was included in the filing. "Only living off social security. I told my father (89) he could not die because I didn't have enough money to bury him."
Madoff's lawyer, Ike Sorkin, suggested this week that a sentence of 12 years "will sufficiently address the goals of deterrence, protecting the public, and promoting respect for the law."
The length of the sentence could determine whether Madoff is sent to a harsh maximum security federal prison facility. He has expressed fears of coping with the conditions in a maximum security facility and has met with private consultants who offer expert opinion on how to apply voluntary sentencing guidelines.
Madoff will be sentenced on Monday morning.
Proceeds to Asset Sales to Victims
Today's forfeiture agreement, which also applies to the Madoffs' boats and cars, allows all sales to go forward and the proceeds collected to ultimately be distributed to Madoff's investor victims.
Ruth Madoff had wanted to hold onto the penthouse, where her husband had been placed under a luxurious house arrest, claiming in court documents that it was not connected to her husband's fraud.
On a recent visit to the prison where her husband is being held, Ruth Madoff was asked by ABC News if she had anything to say to the victims of her husband's scam or whether she played a role in it.
"I have no response to you," Ruth Madoff said.
Documents recently released illustrate the lavish lifestyle that Ruth was accustomed to that was funded by investors' money. American Express corporate platinum card statements show the Madoffs spent freely around the world. Ruth Madoff spent nearly $3,800 on a Paris shopping spree.