Bernard Madoff Celebrates Birthday In Jail and Disgrace

Wife Ruth visits; Still in love but shunned and lonely.

April 29, 2009, 10:21 AM

April 29, 2009— -- Convicted swindler Bernard Madoff will celebrate his 71st birthday today in jail and disgrace.

Madoff is being held at a federal prison in lower Manhattan, the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC), while he awaits a sentencing hearing, tentatively scheduled for June 16. He is inmate #61727-054.

"We do not celebrate inmates' birthdays in any way," said Scott Sussman, Public Information Officer for the MCC.

Madoff's wife, Ruth, visited him on Monday. The federal prison system says "handshaking, embracing, and kissing are ordinarily permitted within the bounds of good taste," according to Bureau of Prison regulations.

No conjugal visits are allowed.

Ruth Madoff declined to comment as she left the prison.

There is little to celebrate this year for the Madoff family, his former investors and his former employees.

Ruth has told members of her family that she still loves her husband of more than 45 years, but that she feels shunned and lonely because of her husband's $65 billion fraud that cheated thousands of people, including some of her closest friends.

The government has seized the Madoffs' vacation home in Palm Beach, Florida, their 70-foot luxury yacht and a smaller boat.

His wife is fighting to maintain their two-story penthouse apartment in Manhattan and more than $62 million Ruth Madoff claims belongs to her, independent of her husband's criminal activities.

Madoff entered a guilty plea in March to 11 counts including fraud and perjury.

He told U.S. District court judge Denny Chin, "I cannot adequately express how sorry I am for what I have done."

Federal prosecutors are in plea negotiations with at least two of the people suspected by investigators of helping Madoff pull off his scheme, accountant David Friehling and long-time Madoff employee Frank DiPascali.

DiPascali told he could not comment "right now."

Investigators say DiPascali played a key role in "cooking the books" by recording bogus stock trades. His plea negotiations were first reported by Fortune Magazine. His lawyer did not return calls seeking comment.

Friehling also could not be reached for comment. In a court filing, prosecutors acknowledged ongoing negotiations with Madoff's accountant. Friehling signed off on yearly reports that federal prosecutors say covered up Madoff's Ponzi scheme.

Joanna Jennings contributed to this report.

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