Justice Department Announces Total Distribution of Over $4 Billion to Victims of Madoff Ponzi Scheme

Department of Justice

Office of Public Affairs


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

The Department of Justice announced today that the Madoff Victim Fund (MVF) began its eighth distribution of approximately $372 million in funds forfeited to the U.S. government in connection with the Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC (BLMIS) fraud scheme. 

In this distribution, payments will be sent to 27,219 victims across the globe, bringing their total recovery to 88.35%. The total amount distributed now exceeds $4 billion to more than 40,000 victims as compensation for losses they suffered from the collapse of BLMIS. 

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.

“The Criminal Division is proud to continue providing compensation to victims through the largest remission process the Department has overseen,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “The billions distributed worldwide is a testament to the department’s sustained efforts to ensure justice for the victims of Bernard Madoff’s massive fraud.” 

“This Office continues its historic work seeking justice for the victims of Madoff’s heinous crimes,” said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams for the Southern District of New York. “Today’s additional payments of $372 million by this Office and the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section represents the eighth in a series of distributions that will leave victims with compensation for more than 88 percent of their losses—a truly remarkable result. But our work is not fully complete, and this Office’s tireless commitment to compensating the victims who suffered as a result of Madoff’s crimes continues.”

“The damage perpetrated by Bernard Madoff in history’s largest Ponzi scheme reverberates around the world, devastating thousands of victims,” said Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. “The funds distributed today are approximately $372 million, alongside the funds distributed previously now totaling over $4 billion, showing our unwavering commitment to bringing justice to the victims of Madoff’s greedy crimes.”

On June 29, 2009, then-U.S. District Judge Denny Chin sentenced Madoff to serve 150 years in prison for running the largest fraudulent scheme in history. Of the over $4 billion that has been 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. 

Former Chairman Richard Breeden of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission oversees the MVF in his capacity as Special Master appointed by the Justice Department to assist with the victim remission proceedings. The Department also acknowledges the continued 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.  

More information about MVF and its compensation to victims of BLMIS is available on the MVF website at www.madoffvictimfund.com, such as eligibility criteria, process updates, and frequently asked questions. Further questions may be directed to the MVF at 866-624-3670 or info@madoffvictimfund.com.

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