Madoff Suits Can Proceed

Filing deadline passed on day of elder son’s suicide; suits to recover funds can continue

More On Legal & Compliance

from The Advisor's Professional Library
  • RIAs and Customer Identification Just as RIAs owe a duty to diligently protect their clients’ privacy and guard against theft, firms also play a vital role in customer identification. Although RIAs are not subject to an anti-money laundering rule, securities regulators expect advisors to address these issues in their policies and procedures.
  • Best Practices for Working with Senior Investors Securities examiners deal harshly with RIAs that do not fulfill their fiduciary obligations toward senior investors, as the SEC and state securities regulators view older investors as particularly vulnerable and in need of protection.

At least 1,000 lawsuits filed in the hope of recovering more than $50 billion for the victims of Bernie Madoff’s massive swindle can now proceed, since the deadline for filing suits has passed. The deadline was Saturday, the second anniversary of Madoff’s arrest for running what is thought to be the worst investment fraud in the history of the country, a Ponzi scheme that bilked billions of dollars from thousands of clients. It was also the day that Madoff’s elder son, Mark Madoff, was found hanged in his SoHo home in an apparent suicide.

According to a report in The Boston Globe, David Sheehan, attorney for the trustee charged with recovering assets, Irving H. Picard, said he expected many of the suits to be settled before coming to trial. Mark Madoff’s suicide would not affect the suits against him or his younger brother Andrew, said Sheehan, nor would it affect suits against other relatives. Sheehan said that most of the suits had been filed in bankruptcy court within the past three weeks, and that he was getting ready for a siege of challenges against them.

On Friday Picard filed a $900 million suit against two accountants, and a civil racketeering case against offshore bankers that alleges they helped Madoff perpetrate financial devastation on his victims. Madoff is currently serving a 150-year sentence for his crimes; although he claims to have acted alone, the Friday suits sparked speculation that Picard may be looking farther afield for accomplices.

Despite the fact that the initial deadline has passed, Picard may still file additional suits, said Sheehan. Picard has one more year in which to trace the money he intends to recover from the list of defendants in the suits. He can file complaints against anyone to whom the money may have been transferred.

Reprints Discuss this story
This is where the comments go.