Feds Zero in on Madoff's Wife, Kids

By Jim Scott
|  Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009  |  Updated 5:10 AM PDT
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Bernard Madoff & His Victims

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Disgraced patriarch Bernard Madoff is trying to shield his family from legal entanglements.

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Madoff's Wife May Be in Trouble

Accused swindler Bernard Madoff could be getting some company if he goes to prison on Thursday.
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Federal investigators are concerned Bernard Madoff's $64.8 billion Ponzi scheme may have been a family affair.

Madoff's wife, Ruth, and other members of his family could be indicted and cut plea deals with federal investigators for helping hide the funds Madoff cheated from investors, a source told The Daily Beast.

“There should be at least 20 indictments...if the feds are doing their jobs,” a highly placed lawyer involved in the case told The Daily Beast. “Some will be conspiracy, the ones who were deep into it with Madoff, and others will be civil cases sent to the SEC for prosecution.”

Madoff is expected to plead guilty Thursday to charges that he engineered one of the largest investment scams in U.S. history and he could face a prison sentence of up to 150 years.

New information suggests that Madoff's inner circle "transferred assets to their wives . . . thought to be laundered through an English bank."

Investigators are taking a closer look at the Madoff clan, including his sons Mark and Andrew, his brother, Peter, and his niece, Shana, the Daily Beast reported.

Madoff's wife was initially thought to be innocent of any wrongdoing, but investigators are probing whether she received $70 million from her husband. She recently elected to retain her own attorney.

Madoff has allegedly not been cooperating in good faith with investigators, to preserve assets for his wife and children and to keep them from facing legal problems, according to the Daily Beast. 

In court documents filed Tuesday, prosecutors raised the size of the fraud to $64.8 billion, saying Madoff's records falsely claimed that amount was in 4,800 client accounts in November.

Experts say the actual loss was more likely much less and that higher numbers reflect false profits he promised investors. So far, authorities have located about $1 billion for jilted investors.

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