Bail us Out Say Madoff Victims
Bail us out, say Madoff victims
James Doran in New York
The Observer, Sunday 4 January 2009
Lawyers representing the victims of Bernard Madoff's alleged $50bn fraud are calling on the US government to bail them out with billions of taxpayers' dollars.
They say the government should bolster the Securities Investor Protection Corporation, which helps creditors of collapsed brokerages.
The SIPC has little more than $1.6bn of funds and has promised $500,000 to each Madoff victim who had an account with his firm in the past 12 months. Losses in the Madoff affair are estimated to be between $30bn and $50bn. Michael Sirota, a lawyer representing KML Investments, a firm claiming to have lost $80m, said: "What if SIPC needs $15bn to compensate all the victims because this fraud is bigger than anything they imagined could happen? The government should step up with funds like it has for the banking sector and the automotive sector."
Stuart Rich, a lawyer representing seven investors who lost sums from $3m to $30m, says: "We desperately need to see the pool of assets we are working with and the pool of losses."
Madoff has presented a list of his assets to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the US market regulator, but the document remains under seal.