October 16, 2014
Mathew & Rosemary Martoma
I read an article this morning about Mathew & Rosemary Martoma. For a quick summary, Mr. Martoma was sentenced to nine years in prison and was ordered to pay back more than $9 million dollars he stole while working at SAC Capital. He will surrender to federal prison next month. Based on the length of his sentence, and the approach his wife, Rosemary, is taking to try to keep ill-gotten gains I can only assume they were not guided through this process very efficiently.
Rosemary Martoma, I read, is requesting that the court allow her to keep half of her husband’s ill-gotten gains. She quit her career, she said, based on the promise she would have equal ownership of all assets. Under that argument, then, she should do half his time if she is willing to take half of the money her husband earned illegally. Asking for half makes clear she is unconcerned with where the purloined funds came from. They came illegally, Ms. Martoma. Why would you want what you never earned? That line of reasoning is partly why Mr. Martoma is going away for nine years. That line of reasoning once led me to the inside of Taft Federal Prison Camp.
I always wonder why Ruth Madoff was allowed to keep a nice chunk of cash. After all wasn’t her husband the biggest swindler of all, even bigger than Charles Ponzi? I presume, and to be clear I am not a lawyer, that her lawyers did a better job prior to Mr. Madoff’s sentencing of explaining why Ms. Madoff should not be thrown on to the streets of New York City, broke and homeless. Could you imagine the response from the public if Ruth Madoff had suggested she wanted half of her husband’s stolen money? No rational person could made that argument. But one could argue that Ms. Madoff, was too, a victim, and suffered immensely as a result of her husband. She was never indicted, sued I am sure, but never indicted. It is not unreasonable for a spouse who was also swindled to be left with something. But half? Come on!
As I review this case in depth I am blown away at how many things this family did poorly. The lawyers probably collected millions in legal fees. Perhaps Ms. Martoma should take a different approach. Rather than asking tax payers who were deceived to continue to fund her lavish lifestyle, perhaps she should ask her lawyers to return some of their legal fees–in my opinion, those fees, like those illegal trading profits, were unearned.