Madoff Victims Set to Get $349 Million in Fourth Trustee Payout

(Bloomberg)--Bernard Madoff’s victims are set to get $349 million in a fresh round of payments by the trusteeunwinding his firm, a day after five of its ex-employees were convicted of aiding the con man’s $17.5 billion Ponzi scheme.

The distribution, which needs approval by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York, will bring total payouts to victims to almost $6 billion, or 34% of the lost principal, Irving Picard, the trustee for Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, said in a statement yesterday. It’s the fourth such distribution since Madoff’s 2008 arrest triggered the liquidation.

“Our commitment is simple: to recover the maximum amount of funds stolen in the Madoff Ponzi scheme and to distribute these funds to their rightful owners as quickly as possible,” Picard, who recovered the money through lawsuits and settlements with alleged beneficiaries of the fraud, said in the statement.

A federal jury in Manhattan on March 24 found five former Madoff employees guilty of aiding his fraud for decades by creating fake trading documents and account statements. They were accused of targeting thousands of retirees, wealthy investors, charities and even family and friends, and getting rich in the process.

Madoff, 75, pleaded guilty to fraud in 2009 and is serving a 150-year sentence at a federal prison in North Carolina. At least seven other people have pleaded guilty to roles in the scheme, including his brother Peter Madoff, who is serving a 10-year term.

A hearing on the latest distribution to victims was scheduled for April 17, Picard said.

Picard’s payouts include advances of as much as $500,000 each to victims by the Securities Investor Protection Corp., an industry-backed entity overseeing the liquidation and paying Picard’s fees, according to the trustee’s statement. The advances have totaled about $811 million, he said.

“We hope that trend continues, and is even accelerated, as the remaining legal disputes are resolved,” Stephen Harbeck, SIPC’s president, said in a separate statement.

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