The U.S. Justice Department’s $4 billion fund for victims of Bernard Madoff’s epic Ponzi scheme is getting closer to making its first payout, more than four years after it was set up.
Bloomberg News reports that the administrator of the Madoff Victim Fund, Richard Breeden, said in an update on his website that the Justice Department in early June had approved more than 35,000 petitions claiming total losses of more than $6.5 billion. The first round of checks should go out sometime this year, he said.
“Approved petitioners should expect to receive notification of these decisions in the coming weeks,” he said.
Breeden’s firm has racked up $38.8 million in billings through the end of 2016, the Justice Department said last month in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from Bloomberg News. The disclosure led to criticism from some victims and legal experts that the process was taking too long, particularly since Breeden is being paid out of the victims fund.
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