Madoff ‘Winners’ Continue Court Fight

Aug 11 2010 | 9:43am ET

The so-called “winners” in the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme—those investors who withdrew more from their Madoff accounts than they invested—hope they aren’t quite done winning yet.

The investors are challenging a March Bankruptcy Court decision approving receiver Irving Picard’s plan for returning what he’s recouped to Madoff’s victims. That proposal would exclude the net winners, leaving more in the pot for the so-called net losers, who withdrew less than they invested in the $65 billion fraud.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Burton Lifland ruled that “because securities positions are in fact nonexistent, the trustee cannot discharge claims upon the false premise that customers’ securities positions are what the account statements purport them to be.” The net winners had wanted the judge to force Picard to use their final account statements to determine who got what, even though those statements were totally bogus.

In their Monday court filing, the net winners also noted the potential hardship of a raft of lawsuits Picard plans against them to recoup any false profits they withdrew. The receiver said he could sue as many as 1,000 investors.

For his part, Madoff is still moldering away at a federal prison in North Carolina, having been sentenced to 150 years in prison for his fraud.

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