The victims of Bernard Madoff's $65 billion Ponzi scheme will get their first, very small, payments later this year, almost three years after the arch-fraudster's scam collapsed.
Court-appointed trustee Irving Picard won court approval this week to move about one-third of the money he's collected on behalf of defrauded investors into a customer fund. But he'll only be able to send out about $272 million in the fourth quarter—just 4% of the total collected—with the rest still tied up in legal battles.
That means that the average Madoff victim approved by Picard for payment—and there are just 1,224 of those, all so-called "net losers" who invested more with Madoff than they withdrew—will get about $222,000 in time for the holidays.
In addition to the $7.6 billion Picard has collected, the trustee is still seeking billions more in lawsuits.