It seems that over 200 investors in Bernard Madoff’s $65 billion Ponzi scheme are moving closer to recouping some of their lost funds, said ABC News, citing Irving Picard, the appointed bankruptcy trustee charged with liquidating Madoff’s assets.
Picard was hired by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) to recover some of the $65 billion Madoff’s investors lost to his scam. So far, Picard has been able to collect $1.22 billion as a result of his efforts.
Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 fraud counts on March 12. The former chairman of the NASDAQ stock exchange ran an investment advisory business for decades that was, in reality, a Ponzi scheme. Last November, Madoff told his investors his fund held over $64 billion, but in reality, it only held a mere fraction of that amount. Because Madoff’s Ponzi scheme went on for decades, it is suspected that he was far from the only person in his circle who knew of the swindle. It’s known that several people close to Madoff—including key employees, as well as his wife, sons, and brother—were among those close to him caught up in the probe.
According to an earlier Bloomberg.com report, Picard has filed several claw back lawsuits seeking a total of $10.1 billion in profits withdrawn by Madoff investors that he claims should have known of the fraud. Picard is also seeking about $735 million from Madoff customers outside of court. Sadly, in spite of these efforts, most experts expect that Madoff’s former investors will only recover pennies on the dollar.
ABC News reported that, as of this week, letters were issued to commit over $116 million to satisfy claims from the some 237 Madoff victims expected to receive up to $500,000 from the SIPC. This is part of the hardship program Picard initiated to reclaim Madoff’s assets on behalf of the disgraced financier’s victims. The program will enable individual victims experiencing significant financial hardship to file a special claim by July 2 that seeks “an accelerated federal insurance payment,” Picard announced, said USA Today previously, with each applicant eligible to qualify for up to $500,000.
Picard said his office has received close to 9,000 claims from swindled investors and called Madoff’s scam the “most complicated and far reaching financial fraud in U.S. history,” quoted ABC News.
Most recently, Picard reached a deal with Spain’s largest bank regarding investments two of its hedge funds made with the admitted Ponzi schemer. According to Bloomberg.com, Banco Santander will pay $235 million to Picard to avoid a lawsuit. Santander’s Optimal Investment Services unit operated the two hedge funds, Bloomberg.com said. Santander said its agreement with Picard did not imply any wrongdoing on its part.
As we reported previously, losses for Banco Santander’s clients were among the highest of any bank linked to Madoff’s investment advisory business. As a result of its Madoff’s investments, the bank’s clients lost more than $3.1 billion. Yet, just weeks before Madoff’s Ponzi scheme collapsed, managers at Banco Santander’s Optimal hedge fund investment arm were praising Madoff’s supposedly “impeccable” market timing. The massive losses prompted some Santander clients to file a class action lawsuit against the bank in Miami, charging it did not perform enough due diligence regarding its Madoff investments.