The court-appointed trustee for the liquidation of Bernard Madoff's investment securities firm has received $29 million from the disgraced asset manager's bank account that he plans to distribute to defrauded investors.
Securities Investor Protection Corp. president Stephen Harbeck and trustee Irving H. Picard jointly announced the transfer from Madoff's Bank of New York Mellon account. They emphasized that they will hold the money for Madoff investors and that it will not be used for administrative expenses.
"We want to be very clear that to the extent these and other funds are customer property, they will be used for satisfying customer claims and not the administrative expenses of the trustee," they said in a joint statement. "Contrary to some recent media accounts, trustee expenses are paid out of any general estate of the debtor, and if insufficient, through advances by SIPC. Customer property may not be used to pay the administrative expenses of a liquidation proceeding."
Harbeck and Picard said they would continue to pursue other assets. They have reportedly hired forensic accountants who are trying to trace money that Madoff apparently transferred to foreign tax havens in the Caribbean and Europe from the Bank of New York Mellon account, according to the London Observer.
Madoff (pictured) has admitted to losing approximately $50 billion of his investors' money in a giant Ponzi scheme. Judge Louis Stanton ordered him to produce a full accounting of his assets by Wednesday. The investment manager has been under house arrest in his New York apartment.
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