Bernie Madoff Trustee Allowed to Pay Less Back After Appeals Court Win

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Financier Bernard Madoff leaves Manhattan Federal court March 10, 2009 in New York City. Madoff attended a hearing regarding the conflicting status of his legal representation in his multi-billion dollar fraud allegations. His lawyer, Ira Sorkin, has told a judge his client is expected to plead guilty to 11 counts including money laundering, perjury and securities, mail and wire fraud.
Financier Bernard Madoff leaves Manhattan Federal court March 10, 2009 in New York City. Madoff attended a hearing regarding the conflicting status of his legal representation in his multi-billion dollar fraud allegations. His lawyer, Ira Sorkin, has told a judge his client is expected to plead guilty to 11 counts including money laundering, perjury and securities, mail and wire fraud. Photo: Chris Hondros/Getty Images

Irving Picard, the unpopular man in charge of liquidating Bernie Madoff's firm, won a court ruling today that upheld his ability to calculate the money owed to Madoff's investors by subtracting their withdrawals from the total amount they invested, instead of going on final account statements that showed nonexistent profits. The court rejected arguments from those investors who took out more from their accounts than they ever put in, like Mets owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz, who claimed they were still entitled to the money they thought they had. Picard has sued investors that he alleges should have recognized or profited from Madoff's crimes.

Picard's victory also means smaller reimbursements for his client, the Securities Investor Protection Corp., which pays back defrauded investors. Helen Chaitman, a lawyer for Madoff's victims, said she would "definitely" appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. "The message to every American who invests in the stock market is clear: Invest at your own risk and assume that SIPC insurance does not exist," she said.

Madoff Trustee Wins Ruling on Figuring Losses [Bloomberg]