NEW YORK (AP) -- A court-appointed trustee is paying $506 million to victims of Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme in the latest attempt to repair some of the financial devastation caused by the massive fraud.
The partial reimbursements announced Monday are being sent to 1,103 Madoff account holders. That means the average check will be for about $459,000. The highest amount being doled out is about $116 million.
It is the third round of payments to Madoff's victims.
Irving H. Picard, the court-appointed trustee overseeing the reimbursement effort, estimated about $5.4 billion has now been sent out to Madoff's former accountholders. That's about 58 percent of the $9.3 billion that Picard says he has been able to recover for the Madoff victims through legal settlements and court rulings.
The repayment pool represents a fraction of the $17.5 billion that thousands of investors entrusted in the sham fund run by Madoff, a once-respected figure on Wall Street. Instead of investing the incoming money, Madoff used the funds to finance his lavish lifestyle and pay his fund's earlier investors to create the illusion he was producing hefty returns.
The scam unraveled in 2008, ruining people's retirement plans. Madoff pleaded guilty to fraud charges in 2009 and is serving a 150-year prison sentence.
A timetable hasn't been set for sending out the next repayments to the nearly 1,100 Madoff accountholders who still have eligible claims. Picard said he hopes to mail out more checks later this year.
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