$441 on bagels: credit card bill details Madoff family's largesse

Investigators reveal how convicted fraudster and his relatives ran up huge bills

Members of Bernard Madoff's family spent thousands of dollars buying clothes, jewellery and gourmet bagels on the Wall Street swindler's company credit card and could face legal action to recover the money.

Court filings by the team trying to recover assets for the thousands of victims of America's biggest fraud paint a picture of lavish spending not just by Madoff and his wife, Ruth, but also by other family members and business associates. Numerous family members were on the payroll and treated Madoff Investment Securities as a "personal piggy bank", the receiver said.

Yesterday, the man in charge of compensating victims said he was considering lawsuits against the beneficiaries of Madoff's largesse, even if they are not charged with any criminal wrongdoing.

The victims face a long wait to find out how much money they might receive back, after discovering that every statement they were sent by their mysterious investment adviser was a fiction. The $65bn (£43bn) he said was in client accounts was never really there and he never carried out a single investment on their behalf. So far, just $1bn has been recovered.

Stephen Harbeck, the president of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), which is assessing victims' claims, said family members could be next in his legal sights: "The fact that we have not bought a lawsuit yet against members of the family shouldn't be taken as us deciding not doing so. It is a matter that is being worked on.

"We are doing what we have to do and at an appropriate time we will bring on the appropriate litigation. The SIPC believes that wrongdoers should pay for their wrongdoing, and we believe in taking an aggressive stance."

In a blizzard of legal filings to support their efforts to recover as much money as possible for victims, Mr Harbeck and Irving Picard, the receiver, included an extraordinary series of corporate credit card bills from last year, which show members of Madoff's family and senior staff members spending more than a million dollars, often on luxuries that appear to have little to do with the running of the business.

In one month, Ruth Madoff racked up $29,888 in spending, including on a shopping spree in Paris where she handed over $2,000 at a Giorgio Armani boutique and $1,237 for items from the designer Jil Sander. She also paid $5,000 for membership of the exclusive yacht club in Montauk, where the couple kept one of their four homes.

Peter Madoff, Bernard Madoff's brother and de facto deputy at the company, spent $441 on food from a gourmet deli called Tal Bagels on Manhattan's Upper East Side.

In a single month last summer, Mark Madoff spent almost $81,000 dollars on the card, after spending $8,400 on a single night's hotel bill earlier in the year as well as $2,166 in New York's Apple Store. His brother Andrew spent $2,395 on family clothing at Polo Ralph Lauren.

Bernard Madoff confessed last December that his investment business was "all just one big lie", and he was jailed in March after admitting 11 criminal charges. However, deep mystery still surrounds how he conducted his fraud, and when it began.

He has not been cooperating with the receiver, and neither have family members. Of the employees of the business that are helping to track down what remains of the money, "none of them is named Madoff and none of them is related to Madoff," Mr Harbeck said. Family members are believed to have been among dozens of people close to Madoff Investment Securities who withdrew $735m in the 90 days before the fraud collapsed, leading investigators to suspect they may have had an inkling that Madoff was in difficulty.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
sportSo, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Arts and Entertainment
Dennis speaks to his French teacher
tvThe Boy in the Dress, TV review
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia was one of the 300 US cinemas screening
filmTim Walker settles down to watch the controversial gross-out satire
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Life and Style
Mark's crab tarts are just the right size
food + drinkMark Hix cooks up some snacks that pack a punch
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect