The overseer of a U.S. fund to compensate victims of Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme on Tuesday said he has received roughly 51,700 claims seeking to recoup more than $40bn, both totals far higher than expected.
Reuters reports that Richard Breeden, a special master appointed by the U.S. Department of Justice to oversee the $4.05bn Madoff Victim Fund, said it appeared at least twice as many investors as previous thought lost money in Madoff's fraud.
He said he expects to deem a 'substantial' number of claims ineligible, duplicative or inflated, and that it was too soon to provide a timetable for distributions. Claimants came from 119 countries as disparate as Kazakhstan, Madagascar and Vietnam.
'The volume was surprisingly large', Breeden, a former chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, said in a phone interview. 'The fact we have victims in 119 countries makes this a very unique process. I can't think of any situation where there has been such a widespread distribution of a fraud'.
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