Trustee Plans to Sue Madoff Family Members for $198 Million

Zachery Kouwe|The New York Times

Irving H. Picard, the court-appointed trustee hunting down any remaining spoils of Bernard L. Madoff’s giant Ponzi scheme, plans to sue Mr. Madoff’s two sons, his niece and his brother this week, seeking the return of $198 million.

Bernard L. Madoff

The lawsuits will accuse the four family members of breach of fiduciary duty and negligence, among other charges, Mr. Picard and his deputy, David J. Sheehan of the Baker Hostetler law firm, told CBS News’s “60 Minutes” in an interview on Sunday.

Mr. Madoff’s sons Mark and Andrew, his brother Peter and niece Shana all were executives with his firm and should have known about the $65 billion fraud that went on for more than 20 years, Mr. Sheehan said.

“Whether or not they have a criminal problem we will pursue them as far as we can pursue them,” Mr. Picard. “And if that leads to bankrupting them, then that’s what will happen.”

Both Mark and Andrew, who have maintained their innocence, are trying to get $90 million they say is owed to them by the their father’s company.

“If you were those sons and you knew today about where all that money came from, wouldn’t you be embarrassed to keep that money?” Mr. Sheehan said. “They should give it all back.”

The trustee and his lawyers have filed 13 suits seeking to recover about $15 billion, including one against Mr. Madoff’s wife, Ruth, and several claims against big investors who had funneled money to Madoff operations.

Asked whether they were working under the assumption that hidden money remained from the Ponzi scheme, Mr. Sheehan said: “Yes, we are.” Mr. Picard added, “We’d assume it’s millions and millions of dollars.”

Mr. Madoff confessed to one of the largest frauds in Wall Street history in December and is serving a 150-year prison sentence.