REUTERS - The overseer of a $4 billion U.S. Department of Justice fund for victims of Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme said he expected to recommend payouts for at least 25,280 claimants with nearly $4 billion in fraud losses.
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Richard Breeden, special master of the Madoff Victim Fund, said in an update on his website this week that his office was "substantially" finished with the initial claims review process, having analyzed 63,580 claims covering $67.8 billion of alleged losses.
While there is no timetable for payouts, the announcement suggests that many Madoff victims may soon see the end of their 7-1/2-year wait to recoup at least some losses.
Madoff's fraud was uncovered in December 2008. The swindler, now 78, pleaded guilty three months later, and is serving a 150-year prison term for running what federal prosecutors called a $64.8 billion Ponzi scheme.
"It sounds like it is good news for claimants," said Daniel Krasner, a partner at Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz in New York, whose clients have submitted dozens of claims to Breeden. "They could end up with a significant portion of their claims."