Almost three years ago, Bernie Madoff turned to his wife and said, “I have a confession to make: I’ve been running a Ponzi scheme,” Ruth Madoff recalled on 60 Minutes last night. Son Andrew remembers his mother’s response: “What’s a Ponzi scheme?” Once she realized what was going on, however, Ruth says she was “paralyzed” and remembers little more of what her husband said. Brother Mark, who later committed suicide, “stormed out of the room,” Andrew says; even so, Bernie then went back to his office and, later that night, brought his wife to a company holiday party. The next morning, the FBI took him away.
Prior to Bernie’s confession, the family had no idea. “Why would I ever think that there was something sinister going on?” Ruth says. “I mean, I trusted him.” She has not spoken to her husband since Mark’s suicide, and Andrew says he will never forgive his father. In a separate New York Times interview, also timed to coincide with today’s release of the authorized family biography, Ruth recalls another hurt: her husband’s rumored affair. She confronted him about it in prison. “He said it was totally not true,” she says, “but I didn’t believe him.” Click for the book's biggest revelations. (Read more Ruth Madoff stories.)