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Madoff victims get another $500M from recovery efforts

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The Justice Department is making more payments to victims of Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, tapping a U.S. fund that will eventually distribute $4 billion forfeited by the con man’s longtime bank, JPMorgan Chase, and one of his biggest customers.

The $504 million payout announced Thursday brings the DoJ’s distribution to more than $1.2 billion a decade after the collapse of Manhattan-based Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, the agency said in a statement. The first round of checks went out in November.

The fund, criticized for waiting years to start distributions while paying millions of dollars in fees to its administrator, has blamed the delay on the tens of thousands of claims it received from 136 countries. A separate fund overseen in court by a trustee, New York bankruptcy attorney Irving Picard, has recovered close to $13 billion for victims and distributed about $10 billion.

The DoJ fund was financed by $2.2 billion collected through civil forfeiture from the estate of the late Madoff investor Jeffry Picower, who reaped billions of dollars from the fraud. Another $1.7 billion was collected as part of a deferred prosecution agreement with JPMorgan, according to the DoJ.

Bloomberg News