In a confusing move, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) accepted a settlement, with no admission of wrongdoing, from disgraced financier, Bernard Madoff. Reuters reports that Madoff settled, in part, a civil complaint filed by the SEC.
Madoffâ€™s settlement offer that bans him from working with a broker, dealer, or investment advisor was accepted by the SEC and has experts baffled reported Reuters, as to why the SEC did not demand Madoff finally accept responsibility for the $65 billion dollar Ponzi scam that bilked scores out of life savings, spanned two decades, and representsâ€”by farâ€”the largest such scandal in history.
In response to yesterdayâ€™s announcement, John Coffee, a Columbia Law School professor said, “You can only mock this. I don’t think the SEC will be able to declare a victory in this case,” quoted Reuters. Although SEC sources assured Reuters its acceptance is not out of the ordinary, many have condemned the SEC for not seeing signs of the massive Ponzi scheme sooner. An investigation is underway by what Reuters described at the â€œSECâ€™s internal watchdogsâ€ regarding how the it remained unaware of the fraud until Madoffâ€™s sons went to the authorities.
On March 12, Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 fraud counts. Last November, Madoff told his investors that his fund held more than $65 billion, but in reality, he only had a fraction of that amount. Since his guilty plea, Madoff has been held at the Manhattan Correctional Center and faces a June 29 sentencing and up to 150 years in prison.
Meanwhile, court appointed liquidators in the United Kingdom have sued Madoffâ€™s brother Peter, for recovery of a vintage Aston Martin, reported the Wall Street Journal previously. The vintage car was purchased with monies derived from Madoffâ€™s U.K. business, London-based Madoff Securities International Limited (MSIL). According to lawsuit documents, the British arm of Madoffâ€™s business wired Â£135,000â€”$201,353â€”to Aston Martin in 2008 for the purchase of a car for Peter Madoff and his wife, said the Journal. The complaint states the transfers were â€œnot legitimately reimbursed,â€ said the South Florida Business Journals (BizJournals).
In other recent Madoff news, it was announced this week that over $161 million has been approved for compensation payouts to 347 defrauded Madoff investors. The money is slated to pay advances of up to $500,000 per investor, considered a very small percentage of claims that total $1.02 billion, reported Newsday. The nonprofit Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) is handling payment distribution.
Earlier this month, we also reported that bankruptcy cases involving Madoff had been consolidated in an attempt to save money and increase the chances that stolen assets will be recovered, according to Bloomberg. This means one trustee will oversee Madoffâ€™s personal bankruptcy, as well as another bankruptcy proceeding involving the admitted swindlerâ€™s business brought by the SIPC. In agreeing to consolidate the Madoff cases, a common trustee is believed to â€œmaximizeâ€ the odds of asset recovery and avoid duplication of efforts, Bloomberg.com said. The judge involved also said that Madoffâ€™s creditors would benefit from the consolidation â€œbecause SPIC is underwriting the costs of the recovery.â€
Irving Picard, the trustee appointed by the SIPC to locate and liquidate assets from Madoff’s investment business in attempt to recover funds for defrauded investors, backed the consolidation, the Associated Press said. In recent months, 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 also is seeking about $735 million from Madoff customers outside of court.