For the victims of Wall Street swindler Bernie Madoff, payback time could finally be at hand.
Their trustee, Irving Picard, asked a bankruptcy judge Wednesday for permission to start repaying some of the money they lost in Madoff’s infamous Ponzi scheme.
“This initial distribution represents a significant milestone in the trustee’s recovery efforts,” a partner of Picard’s said in a statement. “We can now begin to return stolen funds to their rightful owners.”
Picard wants to distribute an initial $272 million to former customers. The average payment would be $222,551 on claims relating to 1,224 accounts.
A hearing is set for July 12, when a judge could approve the disbursement request.
Picard has filed more than 1,000 lawsuits in a bid to recover about $100 billion — he’s collected about $7 billion so far.
Among his targets are Madoff’s longtime bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co, and the owners of the New York Mets.
Madoff, 73, who was arrested in 2008 after his decades-long scheme collapsed, is serving a 150-year sentence in a North Carolina prison.