Madoff’s Secretary Dishes On Disgraced Boss


madoffFor years, investment scammer Bernie Madoff fooled everyone. Now, the secretary who worked beside him for decades is spilling the swindler’s secrets in an interview. Fore more than two decades, Eleanor Squillari of Staten Island had a view from the inside only a very few family members had. “I don’t know if I’ll ever believe that this is the person I worked with for 25 years, and this is what he did,” Squillari said. She told her story in Vanity Fair, co-written with Mark Seal. She said in the days before his arrest Madoff seemed to have planted key personal items deliberately in his office for the FBI to “discover.”

“And he wanted to know if they had been in his briefcase, and I said ‘yes’. And he said then, ‘and what about my appointment book?’ and I said ‘yes, they had been in it’,'” Squillari said. “And, um, it was then that I realized those were the things that were happening that were different, like Bernie never went anywhere without his appointment book. But he was leaving it on his desk.”

According to the secretary, who spent two months filling the FBI in on details they could only imagine, Madoff wrote entries in his appointment book, even leaving those 100 checks for $173 million, she said, as his last great “performance,” or con job.

“I realized that Bernie had staged the whole thing. He was planning to take the fall alone,” Squillari said.

“Bernie was a creature of habit.”

And then, of course, there is Ruth Madoff. Why did she stay with Bernie, and not run to be with the children who were about to face the FBI themselves?

“If that happened to me, I would leave my husband, and go straight to my children,” Squillari said. “And I find it totally baffling that she didn’t do that.”

In the article she quotes Madoff saying about his wife, “That’s why I’ve always had Ruth watching the books. Nothing gets by Ruth.”

And perhaps the most telling quote was on when Madoff learned a client’s secretary had embezzled. He told Squillari: “Well, you know what happens is, it starts out with you taking a little bit, maybe a few hundred, a few thousand. You get comfortable with that, and before you know it, it snowballs into something big.”

{WCBS-TV/Elisha Newscenter}