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Madoff victims may get some cash within a month

Date: Thursday, January 8, 2009
Author: Reuters.com

Investors who lost money in Bernard Madoff's alleged $50 billion (34 billion pound) fraud might begin recovering some of their funds as soon as next month, Securities Investor Protection Corp, President Stephen Harbeck told Bloomberg in an interview.

The first payouts from the investor protection fund could occur in "a month or two" if the cash isn't difficult to trace, Harbeck told the agency.

Other customers will have to wait for months, he told the agency, declining to be more specific.

The Madoff case "is of a completely different order of magnitude" from anything SIPC, set up to protect small investors, has seen before, Harbeck told the agency.

Harbeck told the agency that he doesn't know if SIPC will need to ask the Treasury or Congress for additional money, or whether resolving the Madoff losses will wipe out the group's funds.

SIPC maintains a special reserve fund authorized by Congress to help investors at failed brokerage firms.

(Reporting by Ajay Kamalakaran in Bangalore; Editing by Kim Coghill)