Bernie Madoff victims are about to get a long-awaited payday.
The Justice Department announced Thursday that $504.2 million of civilly forfeited funds will be distributed to nearly 22,000 victims of Madoff’s decades-long scheme.
It’s the second time that funds have been doled out to victims from this account, bringing total distributions to $1.3 billion — a drop in the bucket for a scheme said to entail $65 billion in real and paper investor losses.
“While today’s distribution of funds is indeed historical in scope, we understand no amount of money could ever restore the damage done by Madoff as a result of his selfish behavior and unforgivable financial crimes,” FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said in a statement.
It’s been nine years since Madoff, 79, pled guilty to 11 federal felonies including securities fraud and money laundering. He is currently serving a 150-year sentence at a federal prison in North Carolina.
The Justice Department has so far recovered $4 billion tied to Madoff’s scheme, with funds collected from civil forfeiture actions from some of Madoff’s investors who cashed out their gains. The first payment from this fund — totalling $772.5 million was made in November.
“We cannot undo the damage that Bernie Madoff has done, but today’s distribution will provide significant relief to many of the victims of one of the worst frauds of all time,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in Thursday’s statement.
Court-appointed trustee Irving Picard has also been working to return money to Madoff’s victims in a separate effort and has so far returned roughly $11 billion.
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