Three years ago yesterday, Wall Street icon Bernard Madoff was arrested for what proved to be the largest Ponzi scheme in history. Since then, Madoff has served almost 1% of his 150 year sentence, and the court-appointed trustee in the case has recovered just over half of the $17.3 billion of principal lost in the $65 billion scam.
How much more Irving Picard will be able to recover hinges on an upcoming ruling from a federal judge. U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff has issued several stinging legal defeats to Picard's efforts in recent months which, if they stand, would reduce the amount that Picard could seek by tens of billions of dollars and could even imperil some of the $8.7 billion already collected.
Picard has asked Rakoff for permission to appeal his decision to toss most of Picard's case against the owners of the New York Mets prior to his remaining two claims going to trial. Rakoff ruled in September that Picard could only seek clawbacks from Madoff investors for the two years prior to Madoff's arrest.
According to Picard, Rakoff's ruling reduces the amount he can seek from the Mets owners, longtime investors with Madoff, by more than $600 million, and could cut the total amount he can seek by $6.2 billion.
Rakoff is expected to rule on Picard's request for an interlocutory appeal as soon as this week. If he approves it, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit would then have to accept the case.