Madoff customer payout tops US$12 billion

Bernard Madoff exits the Manhattan federal courthouse in New York in this Jan 14, 2009 file photo. (Reuters pic)

NEW YORK: The court-appointed trustee liquidating Bernard Madoff’s firm said he began distributing US$464 million to the imprisoned swindler’s former customers on Friday, boosting their recovery to roughly US$12.2 billion.

Irving Picard, the trustee, said the payout means all former customers of Bernard L Madoff Investment Securities LLC who were eligible to recoup up to US$1.49 million for their losses will have been repaid in full.

The trustee said US$13.36 billion, or 76%, of the roughly US$17.5 billion that customers lost in Madoff’s fraud has been amassed through recoveries or agreements to recover.

Some are being held back because of pending litigation. The fraud was uncovered in December 2008, when Madoff was arrested.

Other Madoff victims including schools, charities and pension plans, as well as customers, have already been allocated US$1.97 billion from a separate US$4 billion compensation fund set up by the US Department of Justice.

Madoff, 80, is serving a 150-year prison term in a medium security North Carolina prison.

He pleaded guilty in March 2009 to crimes that his sentencing judge called “extraordinarily evil.”