Ponzi Scheme Victim Says Ruth Madoff Is Seeking Sympathy

By Jim Armstrong, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) – George Christin has a simple reaction to Ruth Madoff: “She’s lying!”

In an exclusive interview with 60 Minutes, the wife of disgraced financier Bernie Madoff explains that she and her husband tried to kill themselves as the details of his massive Ponzi scheme were coming to light.

“I don’t know whose idea it was. But we decided to kill ourselves because it was so horrendous what was happening. We had terrible phone calls, hate mail. Just beyond anything. And I said, ‘I can’t– I just can’t go on anymore,” explains Ruth Madoff, in an interview that will air this Sunday.

WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong reports

Part of the interview was shown tonight on the CBS Evening News. As George Christin watched it, he was struck by what he called Madoff’s lack of sincerity.

“I watched her speak and my sense was that she wasn’t being honest,” says the Bedford resident. “This is such a ploy for sympathy, you know?”

Just before he died, Christin’s father-in-law, Arthur Schwartz, invested the lion’s share of his life’s fortune, some $2 million dollars, with Bernie Madoff. That money is gone, and it left Schwartz’s widow, now 90, in big financial trouble. It also destroyed any hopes that Christin and his wife had of an early, or comfortable, retirement.

Instead of her own sad story, Christin says Ruth Madoff should be offering her empathy.

“And I didn’t get that when I watched that,” he says. “I didn’t feel like this was a woman who had an ounce of sympathy or an ounce of compassion in her entire body.”

Also in the 60 Minutes interview, Andrew Madoff reveals his mother mailed him an envelope stuffed with her jewels and antique pieces hours before she and her husband attempted suicide.

As he thought more about what that meant, George Christin got increasingly upset.

“If her first response was, let me collect all the jewelry that I have and get it out of the house so it can’t be confiscated, that says to me that the last thing she thought of was greed.”

Christin says even for all the pain he has caused, Bernie Madoff isn’t the real bad guy.

“The boogieman here is not Bernie Madoff,” he offers. “The boogieman is our own government; it’s the [Securities and Exchange Commission], the people that run it and the people that control it. And that’s congress and the Senate.”

As he puts it, you can’t entirely blame the fox for running loose in the hen house when no one was watching the hen house in the first place.

More from Jim Armstrong
  • macmum

    Sorry Ruth, but the only place you’ll find sympathy is in the dictionary.

  • DoverDavid

    Shame on the media for giving her or any of her family members one monent in the spot light. They all should have looked and thought of the impact they were having on others while they were living high off the hog, spending money on lasish gifts and homes. You reap what you sow.

  • Celia

    No sympathy for this woman. If she was that embarassed about what her husband did then she would have given back everything of value that she owned that was purchased during the time that the ponzi operated. Instead we hear claims from the family that they had no idea what was happening while they fight to keep what they gained from Bernie’s (possibly all of their) illegal activities. It’s very telling comment that she mailed valuable jewelry and antiques to her family just before her so called suicide attempt. She’s probably using this as an excuse for being found out that she was attempting to hide assets when they were being investigated.

    I know that I won’t be watching 60 minutes, much like I avoided it when Bernie’s DIL appeared recently. The Madoffs are NOT victims. They are the perpetrators.

  • Denise

    I have no sympathy for this man and his family – they knew what they were doing – just like the illegal immigrants that are steeling from all of us as well! I work hard for my $$ and tired of it disappearing in the pockets of theives!

    I say start w/ the top down – make them all contribute to healthcare (our version not their elitist version), 401k pension… no benefits for life because they’ve served 1 year! Why should this group be entitled when they obviously don’t put ANYTHING that effects them on the line… Lets give some perks for those that serve our country and actually put their lives on the line – treat them w/ respect and give them the healthcare (FREE!!) – instead of supporting all the illegal immigrants w/ free healthcare, subsidised housing and welfare!

    ok I’ll get off my soap box… again no sympathy for this family… they all deserve to rot in jail!

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