Published On: Thu, Mar 27th, 2014

Madoff Trustee Distributes An Additional $349 Million To His Victims In Ponzi Scheme

This brings to almost US$6 billion the amounts now already reimbursed to the victims.

FILES-US-FINANCE-FRAUD-JUSTICE-MADOFF
Bernard Madoff / Getty

The office of Irving Picard,  who is the official Trustee in the Madoff fraud case, has just announced the distribution of a further US$349 million to the victims of Madoff’s massive investor embezzlement scheme. This brings to almost US$6 billion the amounts now already reimbursed to them.

His office also indicates that total recoveries to date, including those agreed by a number of financial institutions but not yet executed, total almost US$9 billion. The difference of nearly US$3 billion will be distributed as well once received and then subsequently allocated to claimants. That is getting closer to half of the total fraud, which is estimated at close to US$20 billion itself, which is a remarkable – and indeed far from final – result.

Irving H. Picard is a lawyer who five years ago was appointed to be the Trustee for the liquidation of the Bernard L. Madoff Securities Business.

Picard said with the announcement, “Our commitment is simple: to recover the maximum amount of funds stolen in the Madoff Ponzi scheme and to distribute these funds to their rightful owners as quickly as possible, ” adding, “Our legal team remains focused on overcoming the remaining challenges that delay additional, even larger, distributions, and bringing more money into the Customer Fund.”

Bernie Madoff had defrauded thousands of investors of huge amounts of money, a crime for which he is currently serving a very long jail sentence.

Picard was appointed under the Securities Investor Protection Act, known as SIPA and his job has been to recover as much money as possible for those who were damaged by Madoff’s huge Ponzi scheme.

Madoff

Irving Picard /Getty

A Ponzi scheme is an investment scheme where money is taken from new victims to pay off fake returns promised to earlier ones. Eventually such a scheme inevitably becomes uncovered when the perpetrator of such a scheme runs out of new victims to take money from, if regulators have not caught on to it sooner..

Picard’s job has been long and arduous; he was first appointed to the job in 2008. Then, the scope of the fraud itself was so enormous to begin with – with investors in the end believed to have lost in aggregate a total of somewhere around US$20 billion in the scheme. Of this amount, claims for recovery amounting to US$17.5 billion were registered with the Trustee by a July 2009 filing deadline.

When the scandal first came to light the fraud was initially deemed to be much larger even,  but that included the fictitious returns that he had promised he had achieved for all his unwitting clients, and who believed the cool aid.

Having already successfully sued many parties, both corporate and individual, in multiple international jurisdictions Picard’s work is likely to still run for years more too, with lots of litigation still under way. “Given the size and scope of the fraud, this is extraordinary progress, ” Picard says, “And we are not done yet.”

About Irving Picard

Irving Picard, who is 73, is a partner in the law firm Baker Hostetler He graduated from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, with a B.S. degree in 1963, from Boston University School of Law with a J.D. degree in 1966,  and from the New York University School of Law with a LL.M. degree in 1967.

He was admitted to the New York Bar in 1982. He was appointed as Trustee of Bernard Madoff’s assets as long ago as 2008, by U.S. District Judge Lawrence.

Picard is the son of Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany.

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