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Victims of Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme get another $695.3 million after a decade

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Victims of Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme will soon receive another $695.3 million from a government compensation fund, the U.S. Department of Justice announced on Thursday, less than two weeks before the 10th anniversary of the swindler’s arrest.

The payout, to more than 27,300 victims, is the third from the Madoff Victim Fund, which has roughly $4 billion and was set up in November 2013 to help individuals, schools, charities, pension plans and others recoup their losses from the fraud.

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With the distribution, victims will have received $1.97 billion from the fund, which is run by former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Richard Breeden.

An additional $803 million has been earmarked for payout, for a total $2.77 billion to be paid to roughly 37,000 victims, including 22,000 who had previously recovered nothing.

Another $13.3 billion has been recovered by court-appointed trustee Irving Picard for former customers of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC. He estimates they lost $17.5 billion, and Picard has paid out $11.28 billion so far.

Unlike Picard, Breeden is also paying victims who suffered indirect losses from Madoff, such as by investing in hedge funds that sent their money to him. Funds are earmarked when claims are incomplete, sometimes because of litigation.

Most of the money in the government fund came from settlements with the estate of Jeffry Picower, a Madoff investor from Florida, and JPMorgan Chase & Co, once Madoff’s main bank.

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Breeden expects the fund to make at least one “significant” payout in 2019.

Madoff was arrested on Dec. 11, 2008, after he told his sons his firm was a fraud and his family contacted investigators.

He spent some customer funds on his family and friends, used new funds to repay older investors and issued fake account statements to make customers think he was making them money.

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Prosecutors have estimated that $65 billion was wiped out. Other victims included a charity set up by Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel; the actors Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick; and the Wilpon family, owners of baseball’s New York Mets.

Madoff, 80, is serving a 150-year prison term in a medium security North Carolina prison.

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In imposing that sentence, Judge Denny Chin, now a federal appellate judge in New York, called Madoff’s crimes “extraordinarily evil.”

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Dan Grebler


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Trump declares impeachment ‘dead’ — and demands apology — in late night Twitter outburst

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President Donald Trump lashed out on his favorite social media platform late Thursday evening.

Eight minutes before midnight eastern time, Trump unloaded.

Trump wrote, "Democrats must apologize to USA: Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said that 'United States Ambassador Gordon Sondland did NOT link financial military assistance to a request for Ukraine to open up an investigation into former V.P. Joe Biden & his son, Hunter Biden. Ambassador Sondland did not tell us, and certainly did not tell me, about a connection between the assistance and the investigation.'”

Trump did not say why he was taking the word of a foreign official over multiple sworn testimonies from members of his own administration.

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Pelosi is ‘marrying up the facts and the law’: Ex-prosecutor says ‘bribery’ is a critical indictment of Trump

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Speaker Nancy Pelosi was masterful in using the word "bribery" to describe President Donald Trump's actions with Ukraine that are at the heart of the impeachment inquiry, according to a former federal prosecutor.

MSNBC anchor Brian Williams interviewed former Assistant U.S. Attorney Berit Berger on Thursday evening's "The Last Word."

Please expand for us on why it is significant and why is it important to label this bribery," Williams said.

"So I think Nancy Pelosi was very specific in calling this bribery for two reasons," Berger replied.

"The first is that -- unlike quid pro quo -- ribery is something that most people understand, especially people who have children," she said, with a chuckle. "We all sort of have a general understanding of that."

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Giuliani henchmen showered Republican with cash — and Trump almost made him ambassador to Ukraine: report

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Yet another bombshell report has shed new light on President Donald Trump's suspicious Ukraine policies.

"At the same time that Rudy Giuliani and his now-indicted pals were pushing for President Donald Trump to remove Amb. Marie Yovanovitch from her post in Ukraine, Trump administration officials were eyeing potential contenders to take over her job. One of the people in the mix, according to three sources familiar with the discussions, was Rep. Pete Sessions, a former Congressman who called for Yovanovitch’s firing," The Daily Beast reported Thursday night. "He is also a longtime ally of the former New York Mayor, and is believed to have taken millions of dollars from Giuliani’s indicted cronies."

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