In the last two weeks, the Securities Investor Protection Corporation or SIPC, has received 1,150 new claims from clients of Bernard Madoff.
At a hearing for Madoff clients on Feb. 20, Irving Picard, the attorney overseeing the sale of Madoff's firm, said SIPC had received 2,350 claims. Picard said most of the claims were from smaller investors, and in total, the claims sought the return of roughly a $1 billion dollars.
SIPC spokesperson Leslie Anderson said that as of today, SIPC has received 3,500 claims. She did not have an estimate on the total amount of money the investors claimed they had with Madoff.
Funded by the brokerage industry and Congress, SIPC helps investors who had accounts at failed brokerages. It can pay these investors up to $500,000 each.
SIPC mailed out over 14,000 claims forms to Madoff clients at the beginning of January. In a recent interview SIPC's President Stephen Harbeck said determination letters have been mailed to 10 Madoff clients who filed claims, and that these clients are likely to receive money from SIPC as early as April.
Seventy year old Bernard Madoff has been under house arrest in his apartment since his Dec. 11 confession that he ran a $50 billion Ponzi scheme.