Madoff Trustee Approves $61M In Payments To Victims

May 18 2009 | 10:15am ET

Five months after Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities collapsed under the weight of its own Ponzi scheme, the court-appointed trustee in the case has approved just $61 million to victims, less than one-tenth of one percent of the highest estimates for the size of the fraud.

Liquidator Irving Picard said that exactly $61, 409, 834.50 of the funds recovered so far have been committed to 125 claimants. Some 8,723 claims still remain. But Picard said he expected to make another $40 million or more in commitments by Memorial Day, a week from today.

About $30 million in checks have already been cut.

A press release from Picard and the Securities Investor Protection Corp. said some $1 billion of Madoff-related assets have been recovered. Madoff pleaded guilty in March to running a $65 billion Ponzi scheme, and faces up to 150 years in prison at his sentencing next month.

Picard also noted that he is seeking more than $10 billion in phony profits paid out to customers by Madoff over the years through lawsuits.

“This is an unprecedented undertaking, but I believe that we can now say that we are at ‘the end of the beginning’ in this incredibly complicated case,” SIPC President Stephen Harbeck said.

“As the largest and most complex securities fraud in history, BLMIS presents many unique difficulties rarely encountered in the typical failure of a broker or dealer,” Picard said. “Due to the fact that every customer statement was a fiction, the first task was to reconstruct the books and records of BLMIS from scratch. This entails reconstructing every customer account from the ground up using BLMIS records, bank statements, emails, records from third parties as well as documents received from customers through the customer claims process. This has been, and continues to be, an enormously time consuming endeavor.”


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