U.S. News

Ruth Madoff to hire a new attorney, NY lawyer says

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Ruth Madoff, who is named as a defendant in two civil cases stemming from the purported financial fraud of her husband, Bernard Madoff, is going to hire her own lawyer, one of the Madoffs’ attorneys said on Monday.

Both Madoffs have been represented by Ira Lee Sorkin and Daniel Horwitz at Dickstein Shapiro LLP in New York.

“She needs a new lawyer as a result of civil cases that have been filed in New York State Supreme Court,” Horwitz said. “He is named as a defendant and she is named as a defendant. They need separate counsel.”

Authorities said Madoff, 70, confessed three months ago to running a $50 billion scheme over many years on his own, bilking investors all over the world. No one else has been charged in the case.

On Thursday, Madoff is expected to plead guilty in court to criminal charges. He was arrested and charged on December 11 with one count of securities fraud, but has not yet formally answered the complaint.

Ruth Madoff’s wealth has added intrigue to the search for assets to recover money for former customers, thousands of investors from many walks of life.

The latest mention of Ruth Madoff in her husband’s case was a court order on March 2 in the civil lawsuit by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in which Sorkin asserted that about $70 million in property and accounts in her name is unrelated to the purported fraud and separate from his assets.

In February, the Massachusetts state regulator said Ruth Madoff withdrew $15.5 million in the weeks before her husband’s arrest from Cohmad Securities Corp, a brokerage partly owned by Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC.

The once-respected Wall Street trader will appear in court on Tuesday when a judge will consider a potential conflict of interest for Sorkin.

Reporting by Grant McCool; Editing by Andre Grenon