Madoff investors get $231 million so far

Trustee and compensation group say an additional $2.74 billion could be potentially available.

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NEW YORK (Reuters) -- A total of $231 million has so far been committed to pay defrauded investors of imprisoned financier Bernard Madoff, the group compensating his former customers said on Wednesday.

The brokerage industry-funded Securities Investor Protection Corporation, established by Congress in 1970 to help swindled investors, said in a statement that the amount exceeded its previous 11 largest liquidations.

SIPC and Irving Picard, the court-appointed trustee winding down Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC after the unraveling of Wall Street's biggest fraud, said it had accepted 543 claims for payout so far.

The amount to be paid averages $425,414 per claim. Each customer can receive up to a maximum of $500,000 under the law.

The statement by SIPC and the trustee said an additional $2.741 billion had been "authorized for potential future recovery." But whether investors will ever see this money will depend on how much the trustee can recover from his global search for assets tied to the Madoff fraud.

A Manhattan federal judge sentenced Madoff, 71, to a prison term of 150 years on Monday at an emotional hearing where defrauded investors testified to their financial ruin.

The once-respected financier was arrested in December and pleaded guilty in March to a decades-long fraud that U.S. prosecutors said drew in as much as $65 billion.

The deadline for investors to submit SIPC claims is Thursday. To top of page

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