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Some Madoff Victims To Be Repaid In Full

U.S. Department of Justice

The court appointed trustee unwinding the Madoff Ponzi scheme announced more checks will be mailed-out to victims later this year. Those who invested less $1.1 million dollars will be getting a full payback.

To date trustees have recovered roughly $11 billion dollars. That's almost two thirds of what people invested with Bernie Madoff.

"Seven years ago no one anticipated that this kind of money would be recovered or returned to victims, and we're very gratified that we've been able to achieve that," said David Sheehan, a lawyer with the firm BakerHostetler and chief counsel to the Securities Investor Protection Act (SIPA) Trustee for the liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, Irving H. Picard, also of BakerHostetler.

Sheehan estimates there may be another 3-4 billion dollars that is recoverable. Most of that money is in the hand of investors who made withdrawals before the pyramid scheme collapsed.

"It's not a question of fairness. It's a question of, at the end of the day, how do you make everyone whole and they only way to make everyone whole in a Ponzi scheme is to give everyone their money back," he said.

Sheehan said investors who withdrew early essentially got illegal profits. But Barry Lax, of Lax and Neville LLP, who represents about 50 Madoff victims fighting to keep what money they got from Madoff, disagrees.

"So, at the end of the day, they now have to pay back the trustee for things that happened decades ago. It's just blatantly unfair," he said.

Lawyers estimate it will take another five years before all of the courts cases are resolved. In the meantime, Hollywood is exploring the scandal. Both HBO and ABC are currently filming versions of the Madoff saga.

Charles is senior reporter focusing on special projects. He has won numerous awards including an IRE award, three SPJ Public Service Awards, and a National Murrow. He was also a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists and Third Coast Director’s Choice Award.
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