Ruth Breaks Silence: "I Am Embarrassed and Ashamed" - NBC Bay Area

Ruth Breaks Silence: "I Am Embarrassed and Ashamed"

Bernie's wife speaks out for the first time



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    Ruth Madoff is escorted by private security as she leaves the Metropolitan Correctional Center after visiting her husband Bernie in jail.

    The wife of Ponzi king Bernie Madoff broke her silence today, saying she felt "betrayed" by the man who created this "nightmare" and is haunted by the victims' heartbreaking stories of loss.  

    "I feel betrayed and confused," Ruth Madoff said in a statement. "The man who committed this horrible fraud is not the man whom I have known for all these years."

    Madoff's scheming husband was sentenced to 150 years in prison today for bilking investors out of $65 billion in a scam she claimed she knew nothing about until he "stunned us all with his confession," she said today in the statement.

    Madoff recently gave up her stake in more than $80 million and will keep $2.5 million in cash, agreeing to the sale of properties in Florida, Montauk and Manhattan and boats and other vehicles.

    She was spotted riding the New York City subway last week looking slightly haggard after she was banned from her posh salon, the New York Post reported.

    "Are you having fun embarrassing me - -and ruining my life?" she snapped at a photographer.

    Ruth, who has been vilified as a heartless money-grubber who was privy to her husband's scamming ways, said she decided to speak out because her silence was "interpreted as indifference" and "lack of sympathy."

    "Not a day goes by when I don't ache over the stories that I have heard and read," she said.

    Applause broke out when the 71-year old was sentenced to life in prison after victims of his scheme, some of whom had lost life savings, had gathered to testify and watch a judge determine his fate.

    Madoff said he lives "in a tormented state now, knowing all the pain and suffering I've created." 

    Ruth Madoff called the stories of loss "wrenching" and "terrible" and claimed her words were "truly inadequate" to make up for the staggering fraud her husband had committed.

    "All those touched by this fraud feel betrayed," she said. "Disbelieving the nightmare they woke to. I am embarrassed and ashamed." 

    Sons Andrew and Mark Madoff, who have written off both parents, suggested their mother knew about their father's crimes, in article in Vanity Fair.