Securities fraud victims of disgraced fund manager Bernard Madoff received a third round of restitution payments in November. Madoff, 80, remains jailed at the Butner Federal Correctional Institution near Butner, NC. In 2009, Madoff pleaded guilty to operating the largest Ponzi scheme in history.
Initially, investigators estimated that the size of the fraud exceeded $36 billion. Madoff had returned about half of this money to investors in the operation of the Ponzi scheme. Authorities classified the other $18 billion as “missing.” Later figures calculated the size of the fraud at $57 billion, $17 billion of which was actually invested and lost. The other $40 million represented illusory gains from fabricated investment activities.
The trustee for the Madoff Victims’ Fund (MVF) has aggressively pursued a “clawback” strategy. This requires investors who received payments in the last 6 years of Madoff’s operations to return the money. Clawbacks from the estate of Jeffrey Picower funded a large portion of the most recent repayments. Picower, who died in 2009, was a CPA and a lawyer who made most of his money though Madoff investments. Picower was the largest beneficiary of the Madoff Ponzi scheme.
The government sued Picower’s estate and recovered more than $7 billion. In that case the government argued that Picower knew or should have known the money represented ill-gotten gains. Madoff stated that he began the scheme in the early 1990s. Investigators say, however, that the fraud was likely in operation in the mid-1980s or perhaps as early as the 1970s.
Following the third round of repayments, the MVF says it has returned more than 56% of lost investor funds. The length of the fraud and the six-year limit on clawbacks likely mean that investors will never receive full repayment.
Securities fraud attorney
When you face investment fraud charges, hire an experienced securities fraud attorney like Robert Helfend. Mr. Helfend has more than 30 years of experience in criminal defense. He takes federal criminal cases in any circuit in the United States.
Federal attorneys are well resourced and have a high conviction rate. This alone means that you should never enter a federal court without an experienced aggressive attorney. Mr. Helfend manages each case personally, so you will always receive his full attention.
Don’t rely on inexperience and don’t assume that you have no options beyond a guilty plea. Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura County securities fraud case.
Photo Credit: Thierry Ehrmann, via Flickr.com