Madoff Trustee: Sum to Be Recovered Unclear

The trustee liquidating Bernard Madoff’s former firm said it’s unclear how much his lawsuits will recover for the con man’s victims because billion-dollar settlements and cases are being challenged in court.

Irving Picard has filed 247 actions and reached settlements with the estate of Madoff investor Jeffry Picower and hedge fund firm Tremont Group Holdings Inc. to recover money from Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. The majority of the $8.7 billion gathered by the trustee for distribution to investors who lost money with the con man remains tied up in court.

“We have a $5 billion settlement and a $1 billion settlement,” Picard said in an interview yesterday in San Francisco. “It’s all being appealed.”

Picard’s $5 billion agreement with the estate of Picower, who was among Madoff’s largest individual investors, is being appealed, as is a $1 billion accord he reached with Tremont, the second biggest so-called feeder fund to Madoff’s fraud scheme.

Picard, a partner at Baker & Hostetler LLP in New York, was in San Francisco today to speak at a symposium on bankruptcy and white-collar crime at Golden Gate University School of Law.

This week, JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) won dismissal of $19 billion in claims in a lawsuit brought by Picard. He alleged the biggest U.S. bank aided the fraud. A federal judge said Picard lacked standing to demand common-law damages on behalf of customers of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC.

“Some of my authority to bring those actions has been called into question,” Picard said. “We will be appealing those decision. In my view, unless we are imaginative, creative and go after some of these things, the victims don’t have a chance of becoming whole.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Karen Gullo in San Francisco at kgullo@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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