Ruth Madoff Still Has Sympathy for the Devil

Bernie Madoff’s family appeared on 60 Minutes pimping a book and their side of the story.

Ruth Madoff Still Has Sympathy for the Devil

Last night, Ruth Madoff appeared on “60 Minutes” for a prime-time interview with Morley Safer. It was Madoff’s first interview since her husband’s ponzi scheme collapsed like a poorly built house of cards and managed to make $50 billion vanish into thin air. The interview focused on how Bernie Madoff’s criminal deceit — which earned him a 150 year prison sentence — has affected their family in the past couple years. The family’s eldest son, Mark, committed suicide on the two-year anniversary of his father’s arrest. Being a Madoff went from signifying the ultimate insider status to the quintessential black sheep. Ponzi schemes became plot lines in movies and sitcoms.

If we are to believe the Madoff’s claims of their complete innocence — or obliviousness — bearing that surname must be one hell of a burden. The family’s patriarch legitimately ruined millions of lives. Growing up in an affluent New Jersey suburb packed with New York commuters I watched as countless residents suffered the embarrassment and anger of being duped by Madoff’s scheme. Working as a caddy at a nearby country club I watched my own income suffer as members disappeared along with their savings accounts.

It’s hard for these victims to find sympathy for a family that profited for decades off of the biggest fraud in financial history. But last night on “60 Minutes” that is exactly what the remaining members of the Madoff clan tried to do. The interview was conducted in support of “Truth and Consequences: Life Inside The Madoff Family,” which hit bookstores today. Doing a publicity tour to show “their side of the story” just seems a little petty. The Madoff family’s story is very interesting, however it’s still very unlikely they’ll gain any pity for Bernie’s elaborate scam.

While talking to Morley Safer, Ruth and Andrew Madoff explained the shame of their last name and how they were affected by the entire fiasco. Ruth discussed losing her oldest son Mark to suicide, and admitted to attempting to commit suicide with her husband while he was free on bail. She seemed contrite and forthright about her feelings and lack of knowledge surrounding the whole ordeal. In fact she appeared to be completely oblivious to what was going on over the years. Ruth nearly admitted that she wouldn’t have been able to turn her husband in even if she knew. She hates what her husband did, but also feels incapable of being angry at him. Andrew appeared significantly colder and angrier with his father, as kin are prone to be.

The actual substance of the interview was acceptable, and the same story the public has been hearing for years — with a couple new details. We saw a wife full of remorse, a son jaded and cold and a fiance who is looking to make a profit. Catherine Hooper is due to make money off the upcoming book, meaning so is Andrew Madoff, indirectly. There is something unsettling about any Madoff making money off their story — Mark Madoff’s widow has also written a book on her ordeal.

They’re pimping their own story, grasping for sympathy, and quite frankly it still feels like they’re hustling us.

[60 Minutes & Gawker]