Likely, law enforcement, the media, and the general public will never find out the answer to that.
She, who now goes by her maiden name "Alpern," remains tight-lipped.
As the Nicki Swift profile reports, she tells those who come to her door in the upscale community of Old Greenwich, Connecticut to go away. Way back when she contended she didn't know a thing about the amazing Ponzi scheme until Bernie confessed to his two sons Mark and Andrew. They contended the same.
Also, it's difficult to piece together what her financial condition is.
On the one hand, Ruth watchers observe that she seems to live frugally. That includes buying wine when it's discounted and shopping for sunglasses in CVS.
On the other hand, she drives a Prius and bunks in a condo complex where a one-bedroom is listed at $3,100 a month. However, those who have wealth on her network could be underwriting that.
However, a few facts are known. Among them is that she no longer visits Bernie in the North Carolina prison. That stopped due to the demands of her former daughter-in-law. It was either swing by to see Bernie or be able to see her three grandchildren. One reason she re-located from Florida to CT was to be near the grandchildren.
Also, she has created a new kind of social network with a group of women at a church who sell crafts. They do not look like the typical Old Greenwich matrons. Both they and Ruth hang out mostly in blue jeans.
What is also known is Ruth's age. She's now 76. Given that Betty White is nearly 100, Ruth could have another 20+ years ahead.
Isolation kills and social life helps with longevity. So, if Ruth keeps up with the Church Craft Gals she could carve out a post-Madoff existence.
In my coaching of those over-50, I have found that a growing number want to start over again not only in another line of work but with another personal identity.
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