Madoff Investors Ordered to Return False Profits

The trustee unraveling Bernard Madoff's Ponzi scheme is threatening legal action to recover $735 million from investors who unwittingly made money off the swindle.

Bernard Madoff
AP Graphics
Bernard Madoff

For decades, Madoff paid steady profits to his clients, telling them the money came from the stock market.

But the gains were fictitious. Madoff pleaded guilty last month to stealing from some investors to pay bogus profits to others.

Trustee Irving Picard has sent letters to 223 investors, ordering them to return money they withdrew before the scheme collapsed.

He wants the money to be divided evenly among all victims.

Lawyers representing some of those investors expressed dismay over the letters and said they would challenge their legality.