Court filing reveals Madoff's net worth at least $823 million

ByABC News
March 13, 2009, 8:59 PM

NEW YORK -- Convicted swindler Bernard Madoff and his wife, Ruth, owned net assets of at least $823 million as of the close of 2008, newly filed court records showed Friday.

Madoff, who pleaded guilty Thursday to fleecing investors in a massive Ponzi scheme, lived large and luxurious, according to the statement of his financial condition that was filed in a federal appeals court in a bid to free him from a federal jail pending sentencing.

The sworn statement outlined the lifestyle of the rich and infamous and showed many of the assets were held by Madoff's wife or by a company she controls:

Homes in Manhattan, Montauk, Palm Beach and France: $22 million.

Cash: $17 million

Securities: $45 million.

Madoff's net ownership interest in his investment business: $700 million.

Four boats, including a 2006 yacht in France called "Bull": $9.3 million.

A 50% interest in a charter jet: $12 million.

Ruth Madoff's jewelry: $2.6 million.

A Steinway piano and silverware in couple's $7 million Manhattan apartment: $104,000.

In all, the sworn statement, signed by Madoff on Dec. 31, listed total assets between $823 million and $826 million, and total liabilities of $265,000. The statement was prepared for the Securities and Exchange Commission, but was not previously made public.

Federal prosecutors are expected to try to seize many of the assets through forfeiture proceedings following Madoff's guilty plea to securities fraud, mail fraud, perjury and other charges.

But Madoff's lawyers argued in a previously filed court motion that the $7 million Manhattan apartment, $45 million in municipal bonds and $17 million in a Wachovia bank account belong to Ruth Madoff, "are unrelated" to the fraud, and should not be seized.

"I'm getting sick hearing this. I really am," Madoff scam victim Ronnie Sue Ambrosino, said Friday after hearing about the assets statement.

Though undeniably large, the nine-figure size of the Madoffs' holdings is dwarfed by the nearly $65 billion scam total prosecutors estimated from the disgraced financier's business records. Most of that money is gone, prosecutors charged in court this week.