17 Mar 2009

US seeks Madoffs to forfeit assets

3:10 pm on 17 March 2009

US prosecutors want swindler Bernard Madoff and his wife Ruth to forfeit more than $US100 million worth of homes, cars, boats, securities, silverware and a piano.

Madoff, 70, was jailed on Thursday after a dramatic courtroom guilty plea in Manhattan federal court to running the biggest investment fraud in Wall Street history that drew in as much as $US65 billion over 20 years.

His sentencing on 11 criminal charges is scheduled for 16 June, when he could be imprisoned for the rest of his life.

According to court papers, homes in Manhattan, Palm Beach, Florida, Cap d'Antibes, France and on New York's Long Island, valued at a total of $US22 million, $US17 million in a bank account and at least $US45 million in COHMAD Securities Corp, a brokerage part-owned by Bernard Madoff, are on the government's list.

The US government's "notice of intent to seek forfeiture of certain assets" also cites a Cayman Islands company called Yacht Bull Corp, three boats valued at more than $US10 million, four cars, $US65,000 in silverware and a Steinway piano worth $US39,000.

In a court filing early in March, the Madoffs' lawyers said $US69 million in property and accounts belonged to Ruth Madoff and was unrelated to the fraud. Ruth Madoff's lawyer declined to comment on the government's notice.