Boca Raton is rapidly becoming home to all things Madoff.
Having lost her Palm Beach mansion and New York penthouse, Ruth Madoff, wife of Ponzi schemer extraordinaire Bernard Madoff, has moved south. She has taken up residence in the $250,000 Broken Sound condominium owned by her sister and brother-in-law Joan and Robert Roman, according to news reports.
Her imprisoned husband has a sister and brother-in-law, Sondra and Marvin Wiener, living west of Boynton Beach. The Wiener's son, Charles, and his wife, Carolyn, - Ruth's nephew and niece-in-law - also live in Boca Raton.
Meanwhile, one of Madoff's trusted employees, this week asked a federal judge to relax the terms of her house arrest which would enable her to return to her $1 million home in the tony Woodfield Country Club.
Annette Bongiorno, 62, who is accused of helping Madoff concoct bogus statements that fooled clients into believing their money was earning sizeable returns, asked that she be released from house arrest in her Long Island home.
Since her arrest in Boca Raton in November on 14 charges linked to her role in Madoff's epic scam, she claims she has posted a $3 million bond, followed court rules and not attempted to flee. While U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain has allowed Bongiorno to leave her house to attend family weddings, a niece's dance recital and several other events, she balked at Bongiorno's request to travel to Boca Raton last month.
"Mrs. Bongiorno has not been back to her home in Florida since December 2010," her attorney wrote in the unsuccessful request. "She would like the opportunity to inspect and clean the home, as well as transfer necessary personal belongings (e.g. summer clothing) to New York."
The government has frozen accounts that prosecutors claim contain millions Bongiorno made during the 20 years she worked for Madoff.
Court-appointed trustee Irving Picard has also sued Ruth Madoff and her Boca-area relatives, demanding they return millions he claims they earned in the scam. The money would be turned over to victims. They claim they, too, were devastated.
Ruth Madoff, who was allowed to keep $2.5 million when the government began seizing the fruits of her former lavish lifestyle, is being asked to return more than $45 million. Madoff, who reportedly has darkened her bleach-blonde hair and begun using her maiden name Alpern, must report any expenses over $100 to Picard each month.
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