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Press Release

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Additional Distribution Of More Than $568 Million To Victims Of Madoff Ponzi Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York
Payments Are the 7th Distribution in a Series of Payments That Together Will Constitute the Largest Payment of Forfeited Funds in the History of the Department of Justice’s Victim Compensation Program

Attorney General Merrick Garland, Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Kenneth A. Polite Jr., the Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, announced today that the Madoff Victim Fund established by the Department of Justice began its seventh distribution to victims of funds forfeited to the United States Government in connection with the Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC (“BLMIS”) fraud scheme.  The distribution will include approximately $568 million in additional funds, bringing the total distributed to date to over $3.7 billion.  The additional funds will be sent to nearly 31,000 victims worldwide, the seventh payment to victims that will bring their total recovery from all sources of compensation to 81.35 percent of their losses.  Additionally, more than 2,600 victims will receive their first payment in this distribution.  The Madoff Victim Fund will ultimately return to victims more than $4 billion in assets that have been recovered as compensation for losses suffered by the collapse of BLMIS, following the largest fraud in history.  Another $5 billion in assets recovered by the U.S. Attorney’s Office are being separately paid to Madoff victims through the BLMIS Customer Fund administered by the Securities Investor Protection Act Trustee.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: “This Office continues to seek justice for victims of history’s largest Ponzi scheme.  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.”

Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. said: “This distribution provides nearly 31,000 victims additional financial recovery from the egregious crimes committed by Bernard Madoff.  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.” 

Since the early 1970s, BERNARD L. MADOFF (“MADOFF”) used his position as Chairman of BLMIS, the investment advisory business he founded, to steal billions from his clients.  On March 12, 2009, MADOFF pled 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, United States District Judge Denny Chin sentenced MADOFF to 150 years in prison for running the largest fraudulent scheme in history.  Judge Chin ordered MADOFF to forfeit $170,799,000,000 as part of MADOFF’s sentence.   

The Madoff Victim Fund is funded through recoveries by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in various criminal and civil forfeiture actions, and is overseen by Richard Breeden, the former chairman of the United States 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.

Of the approximately $4.05 billion that will be made available to victims through the Madoff Victim Fund, approximately $2.2 billion was collected as part of the 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. for MADOFF-related Bank Secrecy Act violations.  Additional funds were collected through criminal and civil forfeiture actions against MADOFF and his co-conspirators, and certain MADOFF investors.

Ms. Strauss praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Madoff Victim Fund, and thanked the Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division for their assistance.

For more information about the Madoff Victim Fund, compensation to victims of BLMIS, eligibility criteria, and payment information, please visit, or phone 866-624-3670.

The case is being handled by the Office’s Money Laundering and Transnational Criminal Enterprises Unit.  Assistant United States Attorney Louis A. Pellegrino is in charge of the case.  The remission of these forfeited funds is being handled by the Office and the U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section.

Updated September 16, 2021

Securities, Commodities, & Investment Fraud
Press Release Number: 21-240