Madoff only has ‘$200 or 300 million’ left, victim list grows longer

How is this guy only on house arrest?

picture-42Gina Keating and Grant McCool

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Everyone caught up in the scandal of accused Wall Street swindler Bernard Madoff wants to know where the money is.

Madoff, who authorities say confessed to losing $50 billion in “a giant Ponzi scheme,” has given a list of his assets, liabilities and property to U.S. regulators.

But the thousands duped, from the beach cities of Florida to yacht clubs of the Mediterranean to Hollywood and Manhattan, may never see it. And judging by the scandals involving Bayou Group hedge fund, WorldCom and Adelphia Communications, any money they may see down the road will likely be a fraction of what they invested.

“We have received many calls from people and everyone is saying ‘where did the money go?’ because he obviously didn’t use it all,” said Craig Stein, an attorney in Boca Raton, Florida.

“If you add up all of the firms and entities and brokers that were making commissions and compensation off of the promotion or facilitation of the money to Madoff, I bet you will find a very large number there, an economy of its own,” Stein said.

Stein said he is investigating on behalf of two clients whose money in Westport National Bank of Connecticut ended up with Madoff. The bank said it provided only custodial services and did not invest any of its own money with Madoff or introduce anybody to Madoff.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which received the assets list from Madoff’s lawyers on Wednesday under a court order, will not publicly disclose the information. It will become part of its investigation following Madoff’s December 11 arrest in New York.

U.S. prosecutors are conducting a parallel criminal investigation after charging Madoff with securities fraud.

Past investment scams show multiple avenues for recovering losses, such as civil lawsuits, bankruptcy court, court-ordered asset forfeiture, but also years of waiting for small returns.

The Ponzi scheme purportedly run by Madoff is one in which early investors are paid off with the money of new clients.

BAYOU, WORLDCOM, RIGAS

The 70-year-old Madoff, a former chairman of the Nasdaq stock market, is under house arrest and has not yet appeared in court to answer the charges.

No one else has been charged in the scandal surrounding Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC and the firm is being liquidated in bankruptcy court.

Madoff property disclosed so far in court filings is worth at least $78 million, including homes, a boat, a charity and five JP Morgan Chase and Bank of New York Mellon Corp accounts.

Madoff said he had $200 million to $300 million left, according to court documents. Continued…

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