Toomre Capital Markets LLC

Real-Time Capital Markets -- Analytics, Visualization, Event Processing, and Intelligence

Saul Alpern Was Early Feeder to Bernie Madoff

On Thursday January 29th 2009, Bloomberg News ran a story entitled Madoff’s Tactics Date to 1960s When Father-in-Law Was Recruiter. This article suggests that his father-in-law, Saul Alpern, was actively involved in steering clients, friends and their families to Bernie Madoff from the earliest days of the founding of the son-in-laws brokerage firm in 1960.

According to one Cynthia Arenson, the owner at one time of the Sunny Oaks Hotel in New York State's Catskill Mountains region, apparently promised investors double-digit returns from the earliest days. “His son-in-law just opened a firm, and he was doing very well,” said Ms. Arenson, 68, who lost at least $1.25 million with Madoff. “Wouldn’t you encourage your friends to invest with him? Sometimes they got 18 percent, sometimes they got 19 percent.”

Ms. Arenson was a classmate and childhood friend to Ruth Madoff. Like many of Ruth Madoff's friends and classmates at Far Rockaway High School, she too encouraged friends and members of her family to invest money with the Bernie Madoff "bank" or near-guaranteed money machine. The lure of returns between fifteen and twenty percent were apparently too much from getting others to invest in a "good thing".

Bernie Madoff and Ruth Alpern Madoff grew up in the same Queens neighborhood, Laurelton, then a lower middle-class and predominantly Jewish area, not far from what was known as Kennedy Airport. According to this New York Times article, Ruthie Alpern, as she was then known, was a poised and chatty blonde with an updo and a winning smile. As a senior, she was voted “Josie College,” a ’50s-vintage yearbook honor that pegged her as preppy, bright and going places. “She was cute and she had really good manners,” said Millie Beck, a classmate. “Always very sweet, very lovely. Kind of all-American looking.”

Ruthie Alpern Madoff is more outgoing and warmer than her husband, business associates say, freeing Mr. Madoff to play the avuncular wizard. And that is just part of the role she has played in the success of Madoff Investment Securities. Her mere presence helped make Mr. Madoff the most reassuring of archetypes, the devoted husband, which had a way of pre-empting questions about his integrity. Three years younger than her husband, Mrs. Madoff attended Queens College, where she earned a degree in psychology. “After college I married Bernie Madoff, FRHS class of ’55,” she wrote in an update for the 50th reunion of the Far Rockaway High School in Queens. “Bernie and I worked together in the investment business he founded in 1960.”