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.


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