Bernard Madoff Ponzi victims getting back $2.5B
Bernard Madoff's victims will get an additional $2.5 billion returned to them, but Alan Moskin of Nanuet won't be one of them.
The 86-year-old retired attorney and World War II infantryman said he invested with Madoff 24 years ago on the advice of a former fraternity brother. At the time, he said, he considered himself lucky to join an exclusive group investing with a man of "impeccable reputation."
But because he earned returns on his initial investment over those two-plus decades, Moskin isn't one of 1,230 Madoff victims who will get checks from the latest -- and biggest -- recovery of swindled cash. Moskin said he invested more than $250,000 with Madoff.
"To me, it's unfair because I was taking out money these last few years, at my age, of necessity to pay taxes and utilities," Moskin said Thursday.
Others will get checks ranging from $1,784 to more than $526 million from the recovered funds, according to the office of Irving H. Picard, the court-appointed trustee tasked with liquidating Madoff's company and assets. The checks were sent Wednesday.
"While this progress is extremely gratifying, we will not cease our work to continue recovering assets for the Customer Fund, and we will make additional distributions as soon as practicable," Picard said in a statement Thursday.
Picard's efforts have resulted in more than $3.6 billion returned to victims out of $9.1 billion recovered. The rest of the money, according to Picard's office, will be distributed to victims pending the resolution of several ongoing lawsuits.
Authorities believe Madoff swindled $18 billion from his clients, but Madoff's victims -- who thought they were investing in a legitimate wealth management fund -- would have had almost $65 billion in their accounts if the returns had been real.
Among those waiting for a check is 77-year-old Bert Kramer, a retired pharmacist from New City.
Kramer declined to say how much he invested with the convicted Ponzi scheme operator.
"I'm not (Donald) Trump," Kramer said. "Of course, it has impacted me. But I'm not destitute. I had an investment and I lost my money."
An investor from Rye, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said he also is set to receive a check. He said he expects to recover 50 percent of his losses.
Moskin, who helped liberate the Gunskirchen Concentration Camp in Austria as a soldier in 1945, took out a reverse mortgage after losing his investment. He said he did not invest his entire savings with Madoff, and "others are much worse off than myself" because, fooled by the fake returns, they invested most of their money with Madoff.
"I consider myself lucky," Moskin said. "I've got three squares a day and a bed."