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ONLINE VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: Bernie Madoff's Wife Ruth Lives Frugal, Incognito Life In South Florida

Feb. 23 2011, Published 2:54 p.m. ET

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Forget chauffeurs, the first lady of fraud, Ruth Madoff, has been reduced to driving a 15 year old clunker with a book value of less than $15,000!

The former millionaire wife of convicted Wall Street swindler Bernard Madoff, who ruined the lives of thousands of trusting friends and innocent investors, has been caught on hidden camera at a grocery story in Boca Raton, Florida, sampling raw string beans from her shopping cart.

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The video of Ruth, who is now sporting dyed red hair, is being published in a online exclusive.

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The once-stylish Ruth sported a white visor and unfashionable tennis style attire in what's the first public sighting of the Madoff matriarch since the shock suicide of her and Bernie's eldest son, Mark.

The one remnant of luxury was the $1,000 Goyard designer shoulder bag she was carrying, according to Inside Edition correspondent Les Trent, who obtained the video for the top-rating newsmagazine program.

"Ruth wears a visor and when she's inside shopping she looks like any other retiree from the north, going about her daily business," says Trent.

"She shops quite anonymously and most people here probably have no idea who she is."

For Madoff, who now often uses her maiden name Alpern, no chore now appears too menial, including dropping off and picking up her own dry cleaning.

Since her husband's $65 billion fraud was exposed, Ruth has been forced to leave behind the high-flying lifestyle and lap of luxury she once lived, including a $7.5 million penthouse just steps from New York's Lexington Avenue, a Florida mansion and a chateau on the French Riviera.

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The one-time society queen has reportedly cut off contact with Bernie and no longer visits him in prison, however.

Ruth has not been charged in connection with Madoff's crimes, despite having worked at his shady Manhattan investment firm.

Bernie's crimes, for which he was sentenced to 150 years in prison in June 2009, saw his family's assets frozen and their personal items sold off by federal authorities at an auction that fetched about $1 million.



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