Madoff Trustee Has Sights on Family Members: ‘Will Pursue Them’ Into Bankruptcy

September 28, 2009

(ChattahBox)—The trustee and his lawyer tasked with winding down Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff’s investment firm is determined to ferret out millions of hidden dollars held by Madoff family members, to provide compensation to the victims of the swindle. And that search will soon lead to the filing of lawsuits against Madoff’s two sons, brother and niece, all of whom held executive positions with the firm.

Trustee Irving Picard promises to pursue the family members into bankruptcy, if that’s what it takes, to uncover the truth and the millions.

Appearing on “60 Minutes” on Sunday, trustee Irving Picard and his chief counsel David Sheehan, outlined their plans to uncover millions in hidden assets allegedly held by Madoff family members. They are filing lawsuits against Madoff’s two sons Mark and Andrew, brother Peter and niece Shana, to recover an estimated $198 million.

The family members are accused in the lawsuit of negligence and breach of fiduciary duty, as well as profiting personally in the tens of millions of dollars while working at the firm.

Although every single Madoff family member has claimed they had no knowledge of the giant swindle taking place right under their noses, Picard believes they should have known. And he is in search of about $18 billion that went missing from Madoff’s Ponzi scheme account, right before the scheme collapsed under the weight of the severe economic downturn last fall.

Picard is especially targeting the two sons who he says, “withdrew $35 million from accounts with little or no investment.”

Picard will not be deterred from uncovering family assets obtained through ill-gotten gains, even if his efforts drives them into bankruptcy.

“Whether or not they have a criminal problem we will pursue them as far as we can pursue them. And if that leads to bankrupting them—then that’s what will happen,” Picard said.

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