"Pressure raised on Madoff family; US seeks millions in loans, jewelry" by Globe Wire Services | March 18, 2009
NEW YORK - US prosecutors stepped up the pressure on Bernard Madoff's family yesterday, signaling their intent to ask for $31.5 million from loans to his sons and $2.6 million worth of his wife's jewelry.
Documents filed in US District Court in Manhattan follow a government "notice of intent to seek forfeiture" this week after Madoff pleaded guilty last Thursday to running the biggest investment fraud in Wall Street history, involving as much as $65 billion over 20 years.
Madoff is the only person charged in the fraud surrounding the family-run business, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, in New York. Yesterday's notice said that any and all ownership interest held in the name of Ruth Madoff or Bernard Madoff in 20 entities or their subsidiaries is subject to forfeiture .
The notice listed "various pieces of jewelry owned or held in the name of Ruth Madoff valued at approximately $2,624,340," and "approximately 35 sets of watches and cufflinks owned by Bernard Madoff."
The notice also said the government sought any and all promissory notes executed by Andrew Madoff or Mark Madoff, Madoff's sons, as borrowers in favor of their parents. The notes are due in 2010 or 2012. The seven loans amounted to $31.5 million dated between March 1, 2004, and Oct. 6, 2008.
Also, Ruth Madoff has declared her Palm Beach, Fla., estate as her primary residence, a move that may shield the $9.4 million home from creditors. Ruth Madoff applied for and received a homestead exemption for property taxes, said Dorothy Jacks, assistant property appraiser for Palm Beach County. The Florida Constitution protects homeowners who have obtained the exemption and seizing the property may be difficult, said Danaya Wright, a law professor at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
The exemption will entitle Ruth Madoff to a 2009 tax reduction since it cuts the county's appraisal of the property by $50,000, said Jacks. Ruth Madoff paid $157,298 in property taxes on the Palm Beach home in 2008, according to county records.
She applied for the tax exemption Sept. 18 and received it Jan. 12, according to the appraiser's office. Ruth Madoff hasn't been accused of wrongdoing. Attorneys Peter Chavkin, who represents Ruth Madoff, and Dan Horwitz, Bernard Madoff's lawyer, didn't return telephone messages seeking comment....