NEW YORK, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- The trustee for Bernard Madoff's victims is suing 40 of the swindler's relatives and employees to recover money.
Irving Picard filed the suits Friday in Manhattan federal bankruptcy court to recover $69 million for investors, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.
The trustee said 22 of the suits were filed against relatives of Madoff and his wife, Ruth, and 18 against former employees of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities and associated firms.
Madoff pleaded guilty to a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme in March 2009 and is serving a 150-year sentence in federal prison in North Carolina.
Picard, who has recovered $1.5 billion for investors so far, must file suits attempting to "claw back" funds from investors who pulled their money out of Madoff's firm early by the second anniversary of the scandal in December.
Some of the suits are going after millions withdrawn within the last six years, a statute of limitations to recover funds under New York law.
Picard said he is targeting those "who were closest to the center of the fraud and who were, in many cases, among those who benefited most from the Ponzi scheme."