Washington, DC - The Department of Justice announced Thursday that the Madoff Victim Fund (MVF) began its seventh distribution of approximately $568 million in funds forfeited to the U.S. government in connection with the Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC (BLMIS) fraud scheme, bringing the total distributed to over $3.7 billion to nearly 40,000 victims worldwide.
In this distribution, payments will be sent to nearly 31,000 victims across the globe, bringing their total recovery to 81.35%. This distribution represents the seventh in a series of payments that will eventually return over $4 billion to victims as compensation for losses they suffered from the collapse of the BLMIS. More than 2,600 victims will receive their first payment from MVF in this distribution.
“This distribution provides nearly 31,000 victims additional financial recovery from the egregious crimes committed by Bernard Madoff,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “The Department’s continued efforts to ensure justice for victims of crime is demonstrated through the ongoing Madoff remission process and the billions given back to innocent victims worldwide.”
“This office continues to seek justice for victims of history’s largest Ponzi scheme,” said U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss for the Southern District of New York. “The additional payment of more than $568 million by our Office and the U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section represents the seventh in a series of distributions that will leave victims with compensation for more than 81 percent of their losses. 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.”
According to court documents and information presented in related proceedings, for decades, Bernard L. Madoff used his position as chairman of BLMIS, the investment advisory business he founded in 1960, to steal billions from his clients. On March 12, 2009, Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 federal felonies, admitting that he had turned his wealth management business into the world’s largest Ponzi scheme, benefitting himself, his family and select members of his inner circle.
On June 29, 2009, then-U.S. District Judge (now U.S. Circuit Judge), Denny Chin sentenced Madoff to serve 150 years in prison for running the largest fraudulent scheme in history. Of the approximately $4.05 billion that will be made available to victims, approximately $2.2 billion was collected as part of the historic civil forfeiture recovery from the estate of deceased Madoff investor Jeffry Picower. An additional $1.7 billion was collected as part of a deferred prosecution agreement with JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A. and civilly forfeited in a parallel action. The remaining funds were collected through a civil forfeiture action against investor Carl Shapiro and his family and from civil and criminal forfeiture actions against Bernard L. Madoff, Peter B. Madoff and their co-conspirators.
The MVF’s payouts would not have been possible without the extraordinary efforts of the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the FBI in the prosecution of Madoff’s crimes and the recovery of assets supporting the forfeiture in this case.
The MVF is overseen by Richard Breeden, former Chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, in his capacity as Special Master appointed by the Department of Justice to assist in connection with the victim remission proceedings. The Department of Justice also acknowledges the sacrifice of numerous individuals due to the COVID-19 pandemic, who worked in challenging conditions to ensure that this distribution occurred and remained on schedule.