1. The Buzz

Florida victims of Bernie Madoff to receive funds soon

“Should have happened much sooner,” says Rep. Vern Buchanan
Bernie Madoff (The Associated Press)
Bernie Madoff (The Associated Press)
Published Sep. 21, 2017
Updated Sep. 21, 2017

WASHINGTON - The federal government will soon begin making payments to victims of Bernie Madoff, according to a letter sent to Rep. Vern Buchanan.

“The Department of Justice appreciates your concern about the lengthy nature of this process, which is a function of the size and scope of the fraud that, as you know, touched thousands of victims all over the world,” reads the letter from Assistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd.

“I assure you that we have been working very diligently at this process to ensure accurate payment to eligible victims … The Department recently notified victims whose petitions have been approved and is poised to issue initial distributions from the Assets Forfeiture Fund by the end of the 2017. These distributions will represent the largest return of forfeited funds to victims in the history of the Department’s asset forfeiture program.”

Buchanan, R-Sarasota, had been pressuring government officials for action on the $4 billion victims fund.

“These victims, many of whom are from Sarasota and Southwest Florida, were cheated out of their security and life savings,” Buchanan said in a statement after getting the letter this week, noting the Ponzi scheme also affected charities and retirement funds for police and firefighters.

“I’m pleased the Justice Department is finally taking action to help these victims but it should have happened much sooner.”