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Bernie Madoff Victims Get Back $2.4B

More than $2.48 billion in additional funds recovered from the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme have been sent to individuals and organizations bilked out of their investments.

Checks ranging from $1,784 to $526 million were mailed Wednesday to 1,230 former customers of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, according to the Madoff Recovery Initiative. The average payment will be about $2 million.

The new sum adds to the $1.15 billion already recovered.

“While this progress is extremely gratifying, we will not cease our work to continue recovering assets for the Customer Fund, and we will make additional distributions as soon as practicable,” Irving Picard, SIPA trustee for the liquidation of Madoff Investment Securities, said in a statement.

Picard has recovered $9.15 billion, or 53 percent of the $17.3 billion he believes was lost in Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, according to Reuters.

In 2009, Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 felonies for fabricating nearly $65 billion in profits to attract investors. He is serving a 150-year sentence at a federal prison in North Carolina.

His Ponzi scheme hit numerous Jewish philanthropies and investors particularly hard. Among those who suffered were Hadassah, the Elie Wiesel Foundation and the American Jewish Congress.

No list of recipients of the new funds was available. A spokesperson for the Madoff Recovery Initiative did not return a call to JTA.

Hadassah was one of numerous groups subject to a “clawback lawsuit,” in which organizations had to repay the Madoff Recovery Initiative some of the profits from their investments handled by Madoff’s firm.

Picard has reached clawback settlements with hundreds of groups, including Hadassah for $45 million and the Boston-area Jewish philanthropist Carl Shapiro for $625 million.

In July 2010, the American Jewish Congress suspended most of its activities after running out of funds, including as much 90 percent of its $24 million endowment invested with Madoff, according to The Jerusalem Post.

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