Madoff's victims' losses far higher than previously thought
The court-appointed liquidator in the Madoff fraud case has revealed that the victims of his fraud have lost 21.2 billion dollars, far more than the previously estimated 13 billion dollars.
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AFP - Investors duped in Bernard Madoff's massive, decades-long Wall Street scam lost 21.2 billion dollars cash, the court-appointed liquidator said Wednesday.
The figure, far higher than an earlier estimate of 13 billion dollars, represents estimated losses by investors who put more into Madoff's fraudulent investment firm than they withdrew, said the liquidator, Irving Picard.
Madoff, now serving a 150-year prison sentence for fraud, claimed just before his arrest last December to have been managing 65 million dollars. However, much of that appears to have comprised phony funds, not investors' cash.
The Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) has already approved claims for compensation amounting to 4.43 billion dollars and meanwhile agreed to pay out just over half a billion dollars.
The commitment already exceeds all advances made by SIPC since its creation by Congress in 1970, said SIPC president Stephen Harbeck during the conference call.
"I am pleased to report that we have made significant headway in recent months in the processing of BLMIS (Madoff) customer claims under what have been very challenging circumstances," Picard added.
Picard is liquidating Madoff's assets so that victims can be compensated. He is also suing relatives and associates of Madoff in an attempt to recuperate huge profits they made through their work or links to his company.
Many of Madoff's thousands of clients may have profited from investing in his pyramid scheme, regardless of whether they were aware or not of the fraud.
One prominent beneficiary, Florida investor Jeffry Picower, was found dead in his Palm Beach swimming pool at the weekend.
Picower, said to have withdrawn 6.7 billion dollars from his Madoff account, drowned after a heart attack, according to local media.
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