The XX Factor

Bernie Madoff: “Nothing Gets By Ruth”

Eleanor Squillari , Bernie Madoff’s former executive assistant cooperated with Vanity Fair reporter Mark Seal for a juicy secretary’s point of view on her crooked ex-boss that will appear in the VF June issue. Squillari spent two months helping the FBI and SEC unravel Madoff’s financial accounts after Madoff confessed to operating a $50-billion Ponzi scheme in December 2008. Squillari says in the article that following Madoff’s arrest, his wife Ruth called the office frequently asking the 25-year employee to provide her with information without notifying the bankruptcy trustees. Squillari said no dice. “Instead, I told the FBI what had just happened. I was working for them now, not for Ruth and Bernie Madoff.”

I’ve always been curious about how much the financier’s wife of nearly 50 years knew about his decades-long fraud. In a video interview with Seal, Squillari tells the veteran reporter she “would have no way of knowing if Ruth knew,” but she shares a telling anecdote about when a colleague of Madoff’s employee embezzled from him. In discussing the matter, Madoff told his own subordinate, “He should have been keeping an eye on his personal finances. That’s why I’ve always had Ruth watching the books. Nothing gets by Ruth.”