MADOFF VICTIMS GET FIRST PAYMENTS FROM RECOVERED US$4B
The U. S. Justice Department started a long-delayed distribution to victims of Bernard Madoff ’s Ponzi scheme, tapping a US$4-billion fund created through settlements with some of the con man’s oldest customers and his bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co. The Madoff Victim Fund will return US$772.5 million to more than 24,000 victims worldwide, the first in a series of distributions. The payouts will eventually become the largest of forfeited funds in the history of the Justice Department’s victim-compensation program, the agency said. Almost nine years after Madoff’s arrest, investors are still trying to recover money from a fraud that erased US$17.5 billion in principal and more than US$40 billion in fake profits that victims believed was held in their accounts. Some have recovered more than US$10 billion from another fund overseen in bankruptcy court through a separate process. The administrator of the fund, Richard Breeden, said in June that the Justice Department had approved more than 35,000 petitions claiming total losses of more than US$6.5 billion.