The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear an appeal by victims of Bernie Madoff's multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme who were seeking inflation or interest adjustments on the money they lost, ending litigation that had delayed $1.249 billion from being dispersed to his former customers.
The justices declined to take up an appeal of a February ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York that the victims of the imprisoned fraudster were not entitled to such adjustments.
Irving Picard, the trustee liquidating Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, has kept $1.249 billion in reserve because of the litigation over whether former customers deserved "time-based" damages on claims arising from Madoff's Ponzi scheme that was uncovered in 2008.
The appeals court said that because the federal law that helps victims of failed brokerages did not address such damages, Picard had the flexibility to choose the fairest method to determine the size of valid claims.
The appeals court also said it would be unfair to adjust the claims of earlier customers for inflation and interest at the expense of later customers.
Picard has recouped $10.89 billion for Madoff victims who lost an estimated $17.5 billion of principal.
Madoff, 76, is serving a 150-year prison term after pleading guilty to running a decades-long fraud.
The case is Peshkin v. Picard, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 15-95.
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