The Madoff in question this time, though, is Ruth.
In June, Palm Beach County sent Ruth Madoff and her con man husband Bernie a tax refund check of $13,800. The money was for property taxes the couple overpaid on their South Florida mansion.
Apparently, the waterfront estate had been overvalued. The county arrived at that decision and issued the refund after an attorney for Ruth Madoff challenged the county's 2008 value assessment.
Now, with Bernie serving 150 years in federal prison for perpetrating a billion dollar Ponzi scheme that wiped out the life savings of many of his marks presumed friends, Ruth wants the refund check reissued in just her name.
Understandably, Ruth's request, made by letter last month to the Palm Beach County Tax Collector, is not sitting well with her husband's victims.
In a deal with prosecutors, Ruth agreed to give up all but $2.5 million of her fortune so the money could be redistributed to victims. The deal, signed after the property tax check was sent, specifically mentions tax refunds.
"Do I think she should keep the $13,800?" asked Madoff victim Ronnie Sue Ambrosino, who runs bernardmadoffvictims.org. "Absolutely not! Absolutely not. She's been forced to give up all her other assets, and that money should be put back in the pot."
There are a couple of lessons here:
One, the rich really are different.
And two, it could really pay off to contest your home's real estate taxes if you think your local tax collector/assessor is charging you too much.