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The Department of Justice has announced the ninth distribution of funds to victims of Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, with approximately $159 million being disbursed to nearly 25,000 people globally. This payout occurred 15 years after Madoff’s arrest and over two years following his death in prison.
The latest payout brings the total amount distributed by the Madoff Victim Fund to over $4.2 billion, reaching more than 40,800 victims who suffered financial losses due to the scheme.
In a press release, Nicole Argentieri, acting assistant attorney general of the DOJ’s criminal division, stated that this fund has now recovered “over 90% of victim losses.” The broad range of victims impacted by Madoff’s decades-long fraud included notable celebrities, financial institutions, charities, and pension funds, with most representing individuals relying on their retirement accounts.
Madoff’s fraudulent activities were exposed when he confessed in March 2009 to operating his investment advisory business, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, as a massive Ponzi scheme. After admission to 11 federal felonies, Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison.
The victims’ fund has sourced approximately $2.2 billion from the estate of Jeffrey Picower, a significant beneficiary of the scheme, through civil forfeiture recovery. An additional $1.7 billion was obtained from JPMorgan Chase in 2014 as part of a deferred prosecution agreement, as Madoff used the bank for his fraudulent operations.
Other contributions to the fund came from actions against investor Carl Shapiro and his family and forfeiture actions against Madoff, Peter B. Madoff, and their co-conspirators, as detailed in the DOJ’s recent announcement.