The first official list of Bernie Madoff victims, numbering some 13,500, has been made public in a Manhattan U.S. Bankruptcy Court filing, and the names range from celebrities to average working stiffs. (See a PDF of the official list of victims.)
A review of the massive 162-page document shows Madoff's direct victims but does not list the many other thousands of entities, from banks to charities, that were burned in Madoff pension, feeder and subfeeder funds. In testimony yesterday before the House Financial Services Committee, Harry Markopolos, an early whistle-blower on Madoff's $50 billion Ponzi scam, said there were at least 14 known major feeder funds. (See pictures of the demise of Bernie Madoff.)
Some of the famous names listed include CNN's Larry King, the family trust of Jeffrey Katzenberg, and New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon. The list also shows massive duplication in some accounts. One victim, for example, "Melvin Marder CPA," appears more than 250 times, while another, "Sosnick Bell & Co.," shows up more than 700 times. Sterling Equities is listed close to 200 times.
It's unclear why such duplication exists, but it could be that these victims made efforts to list their clients (who did not have direct accounts with Madoff) or that they had multiple accounts. But many pension funds, like Orthopaedic Specialty Group PC, which had 140 investors, appeared as just one Madoff client. Orthopaedic Specialty Group is the Fairfield, Conn., pension fund mentioned by Dr. Henry Backe in the Senate Banking Committee hearings last week. Backe was seeking from the committee clarification on allowing his employees to file individually.
It is known that feeder funds such as Fairfield Greenwich, Ascot Partners and Chais Investments, which are listed in the court document, had thousands of individual investors who placed billions into Madoff's Ponzi. These victims are not part of the list.
Reports from overseas claim as many as 3 million direct and indirect Madoff victims worldwide, according to Spanish law firm Cremades & Calvo-Sotelo, which has filed a U.S. lawsuit in the name of some victims. The firm's estimate is based on information collected from 30 law firms around the world representing close to 3,000 people or institutions in 25 nations that have so far taken legal action over the scheme.
The U.S. court list was compiled by AlixPartners LLP, of Dallas, and includes investor names and addresses but not the amount invested with Madoff. AlixPartners was hired as claims agent by the trustee, Irving H. Picard, who is overseeing the liquidation of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC.
Robert Chew is a former investor with Madoff via a feeder fund. He lives in Colorado.