Madoff victims lose out on money

Bernard L. Madoff leaves a U.S. Federal Court in New York


Bob Moon: Wall Street swindler Bernard Madoff is facing sentencing today in a New York courtroom. Federal prosecutors want the max -- 150 years; Madoff's lawyers say 12 is more than enough.

Meantime, his thousands of victims -- from Hollywood stars to middle-class teachers and farmers who lost their life savings -- want their money back. By last count, they had invested roughly $65 billion with him. But as Ashley Milne-Tyte reports, they shouldn't count on getting much of it back.

ASHLEY MILNE-TYTE: For one thing, given Madoff's accounting shenanigans, that $65 billion number could be wildly inaccurate. Jerry Reisman is a lawyer for some of Madoff's victims. He says Madoff's liquidated assets will only cover a fraction of investors' losses. Like the retired doctor from Flori who recently consulted Reisman.

JERRY REISMAN: He had about $11 million with Madoff. Lost that, is forced to sell his home and has taken a job as a security guard at Publix.

A supermarket chain. The Securities Investor Protection Corporation, or SIPC, works to recover investor funds when a brokerage firm fails. Reisman says it's going after some of the Madoff feeder funds.

REISMAN: But they themselves lost fortunes, so it's going to be very difficult to procure any great recovery on behalf of these victims.

Madoff investors have until July 2nd to register a claim with SIPC. Depending on the size and type of their investments, they could get back a maximum of $500,000.

In New York I'm Ashley Milne-Tyte for Marketplace


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