NEW YORK, May 5 (UPI) -- The trustee tasked with getting money for victims of U.S. con man Bernard Madoff says he plans to release funds recovered in the multibillion-dollar Ponzi plan.
In a court filing, trustee Irving Picard said he is seeking permission to dispense $272 million to compensate victims who had 1,224 accounts with Madoff's firm, an average of about $222,000 per account, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.
The amount is a fraction of the $10 billion collected for victims so far, but much of the money can't be distributed pending the outcome of legal actions by some investors that could alter the size of the payouts and recipients, the Journal reported.
"We will keep a very significant reserve," Picard said in announcing the distribution during a legislative and U.S. government policy seminar in Washington hosted by his law firm, Baker & Hostetler LLP.
The trustee has gotten $7.6 billion through settlements with Madoff's associates, investment funds that funneled money into the Ponzi scheme, and others, the Journal reported. Federal prosecutors got more than $2 billion through forfeiture actions that Picard will administer as a special master.
At first, Picard said he would distribute some of the money earlier, but legal actions by investors, including an appeal of a $7.2 billion settlement with former Madoff associate, the late investor Jeffry Picower, threw up some roadblocks.
He said he was holding money in case an appeals court overturns his decision, approved by a bankruptcy judge, to compensate victims only for losses based on their principal investments, instead of their final account statements.