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Distribution Of $770M For 24K Bernie Madoff Ponzi Scheme Victims Starts

Bernie Madoff in 2009.
Bernie Madoff in 2009. Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Justice

The Department of Justice has begun its initial distribution of more than $750 million to victims of Bernie Madoff’s notorious Ponzi scheme, many of whom called the Hudson Valley home.

"We have recovered billions of dollars from third parties – not Mr. Madoff – and are now returning that money to tens of thousands of victims," Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said. "This is the largest restoration of forfeited property in history.”

The Madoff Victim Fund began its distribution of $772.5 million in funds forfeited to the federal government in connection to the former investment advisor’s $64.8 billion scheme to defraud more than 24,000 victims.

This is the first in a series of payments from the Madoff Victim Fund that will return more than $4 billion in assets recovered as compensation from Madoff’s scheme, officials said. Another $5 billion recovered by the U.S. Attorney’s Office is being separately paid to his victims through the Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities Customer Fund that is being administered by a Securities Investment Protection Act Trustee.

During the largest fraud in history, Madoff stole billions from clients, dating back to the 1970s. He pleaded guilty to 11 federal felonies on March 12, 2009 and was sentenced to 150 years in prison in June that year. He was also ordered to pay $170,799,000 in restitution to his victims.

Now, federal officials are overseeing the largest restoration of forfeited property in history.

“Bernie Madoff committed one of history’s largest and most devastating frauds, acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon Kim stated. “This office not only prosecuted Madoff himself and others who helped perpetuate his fraud, but has remained committed to recovering money for his victims.”

FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. added that, “no amount of money in the world could ever reverse the catastrophic effects Madoff’s historic Ponzi scheme had on individuals and businesses alike. But now, nearly a decade after this crime was exposed, it is our hope that victims will finally be able to see the light at the end of a long, dark tunnel.”

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