Mark Madoff’s Ex-Wife Says Trustee Suit Is ‘Time-Barred’

Irving Picard
Irving Picard, the trustee liquidating Bernard L. Madoff's investment firm. Photographer: Ramin Talaie/Bloomberg

The late Mark Madoff’s ex-wife, Susan Elkin, challenged a bid by the liquidator of Bernard L. Madoff’s firm to name her in an amended complaint against the family, saying his effort to recover money is “time-barred” as it was received beyond the six years allowed by New York law.

Mark Madoff, the convicted confidence man’s son, married Elkin in 1989. The couple divorced in 2000, more than eight years before Madoff’s 2008 arrest and his firm’s bankruptcy, Elkin said yesterday in a bankruptcy court filing in Manhattan.

The Madoff trustee, Irving Picard, knew of the marriage and can’t “plausibly claim,” as he has tried to do, that he would have named her in the original complaint if he hadn’t mistaken her identity, she said.

“The trustee and his counsel knew long before the filing of the initial complaint that Ms. Elkin had been married to Mark Madoff, knew that her husband had supported her, and knew that he had done so with earnings from” the Madoff firm, she said.

Picard in 2009 sued the Madoff family, including Andrew Madoff, Mark’s brother, for $198 million, alleging they used the firm as a “family piggy bank.” He later increased the amount he sought. Mark Madoff committed suicide in December 2010.

Martin Flumenbaum, a lawyer for Andrew Madoff and Mark Madoff’s estate, has said the lawsuit is “wholly without merit.” Picard’s spokeswoman, Amanda Remus, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment on Elkin’s filing.

Picard’s Practice

According to Elkin, Picard decided not to sue her originally, consistent with his practice of “limiting claims against innocent persons to transfers made within the six-year reachback period.”

In 2008, Picard sued Elkin and her two children by Mark, challenging gifts to the children from Bernard Madoff and his wife, Ruth, she said. The gifts were made during the six years before the bankruptcy filing, she said.

Picard hasn’t alleged she knew of the Ponzi scheme, Elkin said.

Mark Madoff’s widow, Stephanie; and Andrew Madoff’s ex-wife, Deborah, separately filed similar arguments yesterday.

Madoff, 73, pleaded guilty in 2009 to orchestrating what prosecutors called the biggest Ponzi scheme in history. He is serving a 150-year sentence in a federal prison in North Carolina.

The case is Picard v. Estate of Mark Madoff, 09-01503, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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