The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Business

May 7, 2012

Madoff’s family, daughters-in-law sued for $255.3 million

LOS ANGELES — The trustee representing victims of Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme is now seeking $255.3 million from the investment adviser’s family.

Irving H. Picard is expanding an existing lawsuit to also include three of Madoff’s sons’ spouses. The suit claims that the women should have been aware of and reported Madoff’s fraud, which bilked investors of $20 billion.

The suit, which in November sought $226.4 million from relatives working at Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, was amended Friday in U.S. bankruptcy court in Manhattan.

Madoff is now serving a 150-year-term in North Carolina after pleading guilty in 2009 to a slew of federal felonies including securities, wire and mail fraud and money laundering.

Originally, Madoff’s brother Peter, his son Andrew, his niece Shana and the estate of his son Mark — who committed suicide in 2010 — were named in the suit. The complaint accused the group of having “either failed to detect or failed to stop the fraud.”

“Simply put, if the Family Defendants had been doing their jobs — honestly and faithfully — the Madoff Ponzi scheme might never have succeeded, or continued for so long,” according to the complaint.

Now Deborah Madoff, who sought a divorce from Andrew in 2008, and Mark’s widow, Stephanie Mack, are also listed as defendants. Susan Elkin, who divorced Mark in 2000, was added as well.

The trio enjoyed the same “unjust enrichment” as the rest of the defendants, using the Madoff business “as if it were the family piggy bank,” Picard alleges. All of the defendants received huge sums to “fund personal business ventures and personal expenses such as homes, cars and boats,” according to the complaint.

Picard, an attorney with Baker Hostetler, was appointed by the court in 2008 to oversee the liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities.

 

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