The Department of Justice has distributed another $372 million to victims of Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme through its Madoff Victim Fund, bringing the total amount distributed to date to more than $4 billion.
In March 2009, Madoff pled guilty to 11 federal felonies and admitted to running the world’s largest Ponzi scheme. He was sentenced to 150 years in prison and ordered to forfeit $170.8 billion. The Madoff Victim Fund, which was established by the DOJ, is funded through recoveries by the U.S. attorney’s office and is overseen by Richard Breeden, the former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
According to a DOJ press release, this is the eighth payment made to victims through the fund and brings the total recovery from all sources of compensation to 88.35% of their losses. Another $5 billion in assets recovered by the U.S. attorney’s office is being separately paid to Madoff victims through the Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities Customer Fund administered by the Securities Investor Protection Act trustee.
The Madoff Victim Fund’s website says the fund has now provided financial assistance to 40,454 victims of the massive fraud, and has made payments totaling more than $4.078 billion—nearly $30 million more than the fund’s total assets of $4.05 billion when it began making payouts in 2017. The fund attributes the increase in assets to the DOJ continuing to recover additional forfeited assets for payment to victims.
Approximately $2.2 billion of the total assets in the fund was collected from the estate of deceased Madoff investor Jeffry Picower, and another $1.7 billion was collected as part of a deferred prosecution agreement with JPMorgan Chase Bank for related Bank Secrecy Act violations. Additional funds were collected through criminal and civil forfeiture actions against Madoff and his co-conspirators, and certain of his investors.
“After paying out nearly $4.1 billion and exceeding an 88% recovery level, we are now intensely focused on finishing our work of helping Madoff’s victims through our final payments,” Breeden said in a statement. “We will continue to work as hard as possible to deliver the maximum recoveries to all victims.”