It was reported several weeks ago that Peter Madoff—brother of the newly imprisoned Bernie and his long-time business partner—had transferred ownership of his $4.6 million Palm Beach home to his wife right around the same time the Madoffs learned that their firm was under investigation. We have the documents below to prove it, if you're interested in seeing what may very well be entered into evidence at some point in the future.
When the home was originally purchased on May 10, 2001, both Peter and his wife Marion were listed as the owners of the property. On November 8, 2006, Peter pulled a Fuldian move and transferred title to Marion, making her sole owner of the home. Just a month later, Marion did precisely what people do when they know their world is about to come crashing down: She applied for a "homestead exemption," which in Florida, at least, would prevent the authorities from seizing her home in the event of a legal judgment.
It's the timing of the move that is particularly striking: Peter handed over the home to Marion right around the same time the SEC began an investigation into the Madoffs' firm, one that lasted more than two years and culminated rather dramatically today when Bernie pleaded guilty to the charges against him.
Yesterday, Peter's attorney once again denied the claim he knew what his brother was up to: "Any suggestion that Peter Madoff knew that his brother was engaged in this Ponzi scheme is absurd." We have a feeling he may be forced to repeat that in front a judge soon enough.