The first of what may be many lawsuits aimed at clawing back money from investors who gained from the Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme has been filed, the Wall Street Journal reports. The trustee for defrauded investors, Irving Picard, yesterday filed suit against a Virgin Islands-based investor, Vizcaya Partners, which withdrew $150 million six weeks before Madoff was exposed.
US law empowers Picard to sue to recover fictional profits, especially those withdrawn under 90 days before the firm’s collapse. The lawsuit is likely to take years, and Picard is widely expected to aim wide at new targets. He’s hired lawyers in Europe and tax havens like Bermuda, and may sue direct clients of Madoff as well as those who invested through “feeder funds.” Also a possible target: Madoff’s brother Peter, not charged with any wrongdoing.