Madoff Prison Meeting Never Happened, Picard Says

The trustee overseeing the liquidation of Bernard Madoff’s former investment firm said he never met with the jailed con man, contradicting a report in the New York Times.

The Times, citing a prison interview yesterday with Madoff and a series of e-mails from him, reported today that Madoff claimed he had provided the trustee, Irving Picard, and members of his team with information to help his efforts to recover assets and pay back Madoff’s victims.

Picard’s chief counsel, David Sheehan, said in an e-mailed statement today that the story inaccurately reported that Picard had met with Madoff, who is serving a 150-year sentence in federal prison in Butner, North Carolina, after pleading guilty to orchestrating the biggest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history.

“At no time did any meeting between the two take place and there has been no direct communication between them at any time,” Sheehan said.

The Times story quotes from an e-mail it said Madoff sent on Dec. 29, in which Madoff allegedly wrote “my information to Picard when he was here established” that banks “were complicit in one form or another.” Later in the article, written by Diana B. Henriques, the Times said Picard made settlements with other Madoff investors “after Mr. Picard’s trip to the prison here in Butner.”

Danielle Rhoades Ha, a spokeswoman for the Times, said the newspaper had changed the version of the story on its website and was preparing a correction for tomorrow’s print edition.

Picard, who has so far recovered $10 billion for Madoff victims, has filed suits seeking $100 billion from Madoff friends and family, feeder funds, banks and investors who profited from the scam. His lawsuit targets include JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the owners of the New York Mets baseball team.

The case is Securities Investor Protection Corp. v. Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, 08-01789, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York Manhattan).

To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Van Voris in New York at rvanvoris@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Pickering at jpickering@bloomberg.net.

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