Lawyers Recovering Madoff Funds Have Collected $700M in Fees

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The work to recover the lost $17.5 billion has been going on for five years, and it's not over.

Remember Bernie Madoff? He was convicted of what’s considered to be the largest Ponzi scheme in history and sentenced to 150 years in prison.

Lawyers and consultants have spent the past five years cleaning up the mess he left behind, and they’re making lots of money doing it, CNNMoney says: $701 million and counting.

A court-appointed trustee, Irving Picard, and the many other lawyers and consultants working with him have so far recovered $9.3 billion in cash and assets, and repaid $5.4 billion to victims. A total of $17.5 billion was lost through the scheme.

Picard is making about $890 per hour for his efforts. The average pay for all of the lawyers working on recovery of the funds was $364 an hour for the last five months.

Lawyers aren’t the only ones making bank. A forensic accountant told CNN that people in his line of work can earn from $150 to $700 an hour on cases like this.

There are also lots of covered expenses, CNN says:

[Picard] and his colleagues spent about $8 million on various business expenses as they searched for the lost funds. That includes $400,000 for out-of-town travel, $67,000 in copying costs, $161,000 for online research, $1,206 on business meals, and $12.60 on faxes.

Where’s all the money coming from? CNN says the legal fees are paid by the Securities Investor Protection Corp., which is funded by dues paid by Wall Street. The bills are submitted by the trustee to a bankruptcy court judge.

You can track the progress of the recovery at

Stacy Johnson

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