To date, more than $534 million has been paid out 1,368 victims of the massive <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/Bernard_Madoff_Investment_fraud">Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme that has been making headlines for about one year. Boston.com said the monies were paid out of a national fund.
The fund insures against failed brokerage firms, said Irving Picard, the trustee charged to recover investor assets swindled by the disgraced financier, said Boston.com. Speaking with reporters via a conference call, Picard announced that he identified so-called â€œallowable claimsâ€ totaling $4.43 billion and continues to work on the thousands of victim claims as a result of Madoff scam, said Boston.com. Picard has identified some 2,335 accounts with total losses of over $21 billion.
Madoff is now spending 150 years in prison for orchestrating a massive Ponzi scam estimated to have cost duped investors an incomprehensible $65 billion. Meanwhile, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has come under intense fire for apparently missing warnings that something was amiss with Madoffâ€™s investment advisory business.
The investigation has revealed, according to Picard, 2.568 investors who withdrew more from their accounts with Madoff than they ever invested, said Boston.com. Those investors could be subject to clawbacks. In New York state, clawback enables court trustees to seek recovery of funds from withdrawals made as far back as six years, said USA Today previously, which explained that the thinking behind the law is that those withdrawals are part of the scam and should be sought for proportional distribution back to the victims.
One such target of the clawback process is expected to be Carl and Ruth Shapiro who run a nonprofit called the Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family Foundation. Carl is one of Madoffâ€™s initial investors and is said to have made an enormous profit, mostly because of how Madoff handled his finances, said Boston.com. Meanwhile, the Shapiros claim they lost about $545 million to Madoff with $145 million from the foundation alone, said Boston.com. Regardless, if it is revealed that the Shapiroâ€™s withdrew more than they invested, they could be subject clawback, according to Boston.com.
Of note, Robert Jaffe, son-in-law of the Shapiros, worked for Madoff, driving investors to his agency; however Jaffe and the Shapiros claim they were unaware of the scam.
Picard told the press that he has, so far, located $1.4 billion and continues to work on additional lawsuits for return of funds likely made by other investors who were unaware of the scam. â€œThere definitely will be further lawsuits,â€™â€™ Picard said, but noted that his office would not pursue those at risk of losing their homes or suffering from serious medical conditions, reported Boston.com. â€œWeâ€™re not going to be suing people who donâ€™t have money,â€™â€™ Picard said.
Picard addressed the recent death of Jeffry Picower, a philanthropist believed to have been involved in the Ponzi scam and certainly appears to have profited, said Boston.com. Picard described Picowerâ€™s death as â€œtragic,â€ saying that â€œNo one would have expected that,â€™â€™ quoted Boston.com. Picard said his office will continue with litigation to retrieve some of the over $7 billion Picower is said to have withdrawn from Madoff accounts, noting that Picower appears to have profited from the scam more than any other investor and could have profited even more than Madoff, said Boston.com.