Victims of fraudster Bernie Madoff to get share of $500m payout

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<p>Bernie Madoff is currently serving his sentence in Butner Federal Correctional Complex in Butner, North Carolina</p> (AFP)

Bernie Madoff is currently serving his sentence in Butner Federal Correctional Complex in Butner, North Carolina

(AFP)

The victims of Bernie Madoff will receive their share of $488million from recovered funds, bringing the total amount recovered from losses to 80 percent.

The Justice Department announced on Thursday the cash would be distributed to nearly 37,000 victims around the world.

This is the sixth Madoff Victim Fund payout to the people who were scammed by financier Bernie Madoff and their losses estimated at more than $50 billion over the course of nearly 20 years.

More than $3.6 billion has been distributed among the victims from a $4.05 billion fund set up in 2013.

This is an extraordinary level of recovery for a Ponzi scheme — 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 U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said in a statement.

In 2009, the financier was sent to jail after he pleaded guilty to more than 10 federal charges relating to a Ponzi scheme involving hundreds of his clients. Madoff' admitted to turning his wealth management business into largest $65 billion scam of its kind in country’s history.

Both, rich and famous, including celebrities, were among his victims, as well as people of lesser means who had invested with him unknowingly through feeder funds.

Madoff, who was sentenced to 150 years in prison, his request for early release on compassionate grounds was rejected by federal judges this year. His lawyers said Madoff has just 18 months to live as he is suffering from advanced kidney disease.

“There’s no cure for my type of disease,” Madoff told the Washington Post in a phone interview and expressed regret for orchestrating the largest Ponzi scheme.

Madoff has spent more than a decade behind bars.

The fraudulent scheme by Madoff also inspired a Hollywood movie, The Wizard of Lies, with Michelle Pfeiffer playing Ruth and Robert De Niro as Bernard.

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