CORRECTS headline, and figure in intro to $488 million sted $448 million as sent
Victims of Bernie Madoff, the mastermind behind the worst financial scam in history, will receive $488 million in additional payments through a victim fund, the US Justice Department said Thursday.
The Madoff Victim Fund will disburse payments to more than 30,000 people around the world who were cheated out of their investments by the crooked financier between the 1970s and 2000s, the Department of Justice said in a statement.
The operation marks the sixth time such payments have been made, bringing the total refunds to nearly $3.2 billion, according to the department.
“That is an extraordinary level of recovery for a Ponzi scheme — but our work is not yet finished, and the Office’s tireless commitment to compensating the victims who suffered as a result of Madoff’s heinous crimes continues,” acting Manhattan US Attorney General Audrey Strauss said in the Justice Department’s statement Thursday.
The repayment funds are obliged to return $4.05 billion to victims of Madoff, whose financial scams were exposed in late 2008.
The 82-year-old was sentenced to 150 years in prison in 2009 for running the pyramid-style scheme, which was estimated to be worth between $25 billion and $63 billion, depending on whether interest is included in the calculation.
New Yorker Madoff never invested a single cent of the money the scheme’s clients trusted him with, instead using money from new investors to pay older ones.
He is currently serving his sentence in a federal medical prison in North Carolina. He requested to be released earlier this year but in June his petition was denied by the same judge who sentenced him more than a decade ago.
These victim restitution funds are separate from the payments made by Irving Picard, the lawyer who recovered and returned billions of dollars in victim investments.