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Monday
Oct312011

Madoff Family Book's Profits Spark Anger from Victims

Mario Tama/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Andrew and Ruth Madoff, the son and wife of convicted Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff, will not receive any money from a new book about the Madoff family in which they participated. But Catherine Hooper, the woman who's been engaged to Andrew and living with him for the past three years, will profit from the project, which angers some of the victims of Bernie Madoff's multi-billion-dollar investment fraud.

"I personally do not feel that any profits from the new book should in any way go to Ms. Hooper, who is future Madoff family, or should any other member of the Madoff family benefit from this crime," Lynn Sustak, whose retirement savings were wiped out due to Madoff, told ABC News. She and her husband invested with Bernie Madoff starting in 2003.

"All Madoff money should be donated to the real victims -- of course," another victim, Marcia Cohen, wrote in an email to ABC News.

Alexis Neely, the founder of the Family Wealth Planning Institute, told ABC News it was "smart" for Hooper to receive profits, and not Andrew or Ruth Madoff. Andrew Madoff faces a multi-million-dollar lawsuit from the trustee appointed to recover money for victims of the investment fraud.

"It would be a pretty bad idea for her to marry him at this point," said Neely.

"If it wasn't intentional it was a happy accident," added Neely. "But I would imagine it was intentional. It's definitely asset protection I would advise my clients to put in place in a similar situation."

Hooper, reportedly the driving force behind the book within the Madoff camp, is the only person associated with the Madoffs who will receive profits from Truth and Consequences: Life Inside the Madoff Family, written by journalist and author Laurie Sandell and based on interviews with Andrew and Ruth.

Hooper moved in with Andrew and became engaged to him just weeks before December 10, 2008, when Bernie confessed what he'd done to sons Andrew and Mark and they turned him in to the FBI.

After witnessing the backlash against Andrew and Mark, Hooper allegedly conceived the idea for the book. Mark Madoff committed suicide on Dec. 10, 2010, the second anniversary of the collapse of the fraud.

While Bernard Madoff is serving a maximum sentence of 150 years in a federal prison in North Carolina, a number of Madoff family members are being sued by a court-appointed trustee liquidating Madoff's business. The suit, filed in October 2009, seeks at least $198.7 million from Madoff's brother, sons, and niece. Andrew Madoff is named in the suit for allegedly having over $60 million in fraudulent transfers from Bernard L. Madoff Investment Services.

Stephanie Mack Madoff, the wife and widow of Mark Madoff, has been the only other Madoff to write a book and tell her story. She released a book earlier this month, The End of Normal: A Wife's Anguish, A Widow's New Life, released in October by Blue Rider Press.  

Bruce Hector, 68, a victim of the Madoff scheme, said he felt sympathy for the Madoff family and said their claims of innocence and ignorance of Madoff's fraud scheme seemed credible.

"The family has to live with their name the rest of their life," Hector, a physician, said. "The Madoff name is going for the remainder of this century to be associated with scandal. And those kids have got to live with that. I can sympathize with that. If they make a little money on a book, who cares."

Another Madoff victim, Neil Friedman, said he was also more concerned with the "injustice that victims have been subjected to by the trustee, Securities Investor Protection Corporation, and the government."

"I believe that the family, if innocent, has the right to make money telling their story in a book," Friedman wrote in an email to ABC News.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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