Tens Of Thousands Seek $40 Billion From Madoff Fund

May 14 2014 | 1:20pm ET

Purported victims of arch-fraudster Bernard Madoff have filed claims for more than $40 billion as part of a new restitution process—more than twice the roughly $17.5 billion thought to have been lost in the Ponzi scheme.

Richard Breeden, the former Securities and Exchange Commission chairman charged with doling out about $4 billion to victims, said his office has received more than 50,000 claims. That number is likely to be cut by applications deemed ineligible, duplicate or fraudulent.

Unlike court-appointed receiver Irving Picard, who has collected about $10 billion to fill about $11 billion in accepted claims, Breeden will offer restitution to indirect Madoff investors. Breeden’s pool comes from settlements won by the Justice Department.

In November, Breeden said he expected about 12,000 Madoff victims would be eligible to share that money. He said yesterday that almost 70% of the claims received were from individuals who have yet to get any recoveries at all, and that more than 60% were from abroad.

“We know that a significant number of people and dollars will get washed out,” Breeden said.

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