She'll always be known as "Mrs. Bernie." Ruth, Mrs. Madoff, can't get an apartment lease, even under her maiden name. She just can't get away from the association with one of the greatest crooks in financial history. As our parents used to tell us, "You are known by the company you keep."
Was she responsible for Madoff's massive fraud? Perhaps not. Did she benefit in her time from it? Yes. She (and Bernie) lived a life for decades that they could never otherwise have. In this regard, she deserves to have it taken away from her, even though she is not charged with any actual crime.
Judge Denny Chin seems to accept Mrs. Madoff's claims. In giving Bernie the maximum sentence, one of his reasons was that :"you deceived your own wife."
Another adminstrator of "justice," the IRS, does have an "innocent spouse" exemption for unknowing participation in tax fraud. This had to be a situation where the guiilty spouse went out of his (usually) way to deceive the innocent spouse. Merely looking the other way doesn't qualify one for "innocence."
"You're not the person I married" is the cry of a "betrayed" spouse in a divorce. Of course the spouse was "other" person one married. It's only that one overlooked a few major flaws in the throes of love. That may have been the real sin of Ruth Arkin (to use her maiden name).