If you are someone you know was a victim of the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme, get ready for some money.

On Thursday, it was announced that a Madoff Victim Fund established by the Department of Justice began giving out $772.5 million in funds forfeited to the United States Government in connection with the Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC fraud scheme.

“No amount of money in the world could ever reverse the catastrophic effects Madoff’s historic Ponzi scheme had on individuals and businesses alike,” FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said. “But now, nearly a decade after this crime was exposed, it is our hope that victims will finally be able to see the light at the end of a long, dark tunnel.”

The funds will be sent to over 24,000 victims worldwide, the first in a series of payments from the Madoff Victim Fund that will return to victims.  Over $4 billion in assets was recovered as compensation for losses suffered by the collapse of Madoff’s business, officials say.

“We have recovered billions of dollars from third parties – not Mr. Madoff – and are now returning that money to tens of thousands of victims,” Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein said. “This is the largest restoration of forfeited property in history.”

Since the early 1970s, Bernard L. Madoff used his position as chairman at the investment advisory business he founded to steal billions from his clients.

On March 12, 2009, Madoff pled guilty to 11 federal felonies, admitting that he turned his wealth management business into the world’s largest Ponzi scheme, benefiting himself, his family and select members of his inner circle.

Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison and ordered to forfeit $170 million.

The Madoff Victim Fund is funded through recoveries by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in various criminal and civil forfeiture actions.

Of the $4.05 billion that will be made available to victims through the Madoff Victim Fund, approximately $2.2 billion was collected as part of the civil forfeiture recovery from the estate of deceased Madoff investor Jeffry Picower. An additional $1.7 billion was collected as part of a Deferred Prosecution Agreement with JPMorgan Chase Bank for Madoff-related bank secrecy act violations. Additional funds were collected through criminal and civil forfeiture actions against Madoff, his co-conspirators and certain investors.

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