Nadel Receiver Nets Just $8.8 Million For Victims

Apr 27 2010 | 2:34am ET

Ferreting out the fruits of Arthur Nadel’s Ponzi scheme has been anything but easy for Burton Wiand. The court-appointed receiver delivered some bad news to investors yesterday: He’s only been able to recover about 5% of the $168 million they lost in the scam.

Wiand has collected just $8.8 million to date—a quarter of which he is seeking to pay his fees. The receiver has filed some 134 lawsuits seeking more than $71 million in phony profits paid out by Nadel’s six hedge funds during the Ponzi scheme’s decade-long run.

Even the assets he seized from Nadel have proven less enriching than he expected, Wiand said.

“Many of these assets, including the jet center, were weighed down with debt,” he told the 50 Nadel victims who showed up to the meeting in Sarasota, Fla., referencing a Venice, Fla., airfield and private jet facility owned by Nadel. “I think we were able to clear about $550,000 on the jet-center sale. Obviously, Mr. Nadel wasn’t much of a businessman.”

Nadel pleaded guilty to 15 counts of fraud in February, more than a year after he was first arrested. The 77-year-old faces more than 24 years in prison when he is sentenced on June 11.

Despite the gravity of the situation, Wiand sought to inject a little levity into the proceedings. He told the victims that he had put the recovered money into conservative investments, but not before mulling other options.

“Early on, I considered investing it in hedge funds, but then thought, maybe not,” he said.

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