The Department of Justice will begin compensating the victims of Bernie Madoff’s multibillion dollar Ponzi scheme in the next few months, Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) announced on Wednesday.
Buchanan said he got a response this week to a letter he wrote Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump criticizes Justice for restoring McCabe's benefits McCabe wins back full FBI pension after being fired under Trump Overnight Hillicon Valley — Apple issues security update against spyware vulnerability MORE in May complaining that victims had yet to see a dime from the $4 billion victim fund that was created in 2012.
Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd told Buchanan in a letter dated Sept. 18 that the Justice Department “is poised to issue initial distributions from the Assets Forfeiture Fund by the end of 2017” and that victims whose petitions have been approved have been notified.
“These distributions will represent the largest return of forfeited funds to victims in the history of the Department’s asset forfeiture program,” Boyd wrote.
Boyd said the department has evaluated over 65,000 petitions from victims in 136 countries. Of the 60,0000 petitions that have been decided, 35,000 have been approved.
“These victims, many of whom are from Sarasota and Southwest Florida, were cheated out of their security and life savings,” Buchanan said in a statement.
“I’m pleased the Justice Department is finally taking action to help these victims but it should have happened much sooner.”
Buchanan complained in May that RCB Fund Services LLC, the company tapped to administer the Madoff victim funds, had already been paid $39 million in billings while victims were still waiting.
Madoff pleaded guilty in 2009 to 11 counts of federal felonies stemming from the the Ponzi scheme and was sentenced to 150 years in prison.